Pioneering pharmacist who blazed a trail for women all over the country will be honoured in her home village in the Harborough district

Ground-breaking Fanny Deacon became the first woman in Britain to be registered as a chemist in the 19th century.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:44 pm
Ground-breaking Fanny Deacon became the first woman in Britain to be registered as a chemist in the 19th century.
Ground-breaking Fanny Deacon became the first woman in Britain to be registered as a chemist in the 19th century.

Now a richly-deserved tribute is to be paid in her Harborough district village to the brilliant pioneering pharmacist who blazed a trail for women all over the country.

Fanny is to be honoured with a special Green Plaque in Fleckney, near Kibworth Beauchamp.

The plaque will be put up by Leicestershire County Council on Wolsey Lane, where she lived and ran her own business until the grand old age of 92.

Cllr Kevin Feltham, the council’s chairman, said: “Fanny Deacon was a true pioneer and trailblazer.

“By qualifying as a pharmacist at a time when the profession was dominated by men and female chemists were few and far between, she helped to break down the traditional barriers and pave the way for other women in the medical and scientific field.

“She also continued to work and provide a vital service to her community right up until her death at the age of 92.”

Born in Kibworth in September 1837, Fanny’s father William worked as a chemist in the village.

As a young woman she spotted a syllabus of the Pharmaceutical Society’s examinations in his dispensary - and made her mind up to pass the tough exam.

Fanny broke down barrier after barrier blocking off women in medicine and science as she set out to achieve her over-riding ambition.

She sat the Pharmaceutical Society’s examination at their headquarters in London - and swept through with flying colours.

Fanny registered as a chemist and druggist with the Pharmaceutical Society in 1869.

But she was not allowed to become a member until 10 years later in 1879 – because she was a woman.

Fanny worked alongside her proud father, later opening her own pharmacy in Fleckney.

When she died in January 1930 aged 92 she was the oldest registered chemist in England.

The Green Plaque is to be unveiled next Thursday (June 16) on the side of the house where Fanny lived and worked for 55 years from 1875 until her death.

You can get more information on the Green Plaque scheme on the county council’s webpage here: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/history-and-heritage/the-green-plaque-awards