On 17 June 1911 a group of female pharmacists joined the Women’s Coronation Procession, a 40,000-strong march from Westminster to the Albert Hall in support of votes for women.
Amongst those marching was Elsie Hooper. Born in 1879, Hooper joined the Pharmaceutical Society in 1902, and shortly thereafter became the first secretary of the National Association of Women Pharmacists. She was the first female recipient of two prestigious research awards: the Redwood Research Scholarship and the Pharmaceutical Society’s Burroughs Scholarship.
Hooper went on to own two London pharmacies in Belsize Park and Hampstead, and was known for her encouragement of female apprentices. Writing in The Pharmaceutical Journal in 2005, Jean Lee, who was apprenticed to Hooper during the second world war, described “a kind but firm employer with a good sense of humour”, whose regular patients included “a well-known Shakespearean actor with a plummy voice who came in regularly for constipation”, and Labour MP Manny Shinwell.
Hooper’s career also encompassed publishing and academia. She worked on the first British Pharmaceutical Codex, published in 1907, and taught at the Gordon Hall School of Pharmacy in North London between 1920 and 1942; in later years, she become the school’s proprietor.
Elsie Hooper died in 1969.