Joan Elizabeth Carter (1930–2023)

On 25 July 2023, Joan Elizabeth Carter, aged 93 years, of Loughborough, Leicestershire.


Joan Elizabeth Carter died on 25 July 2023 in Loughborough.

Born on 30 May 1930 as Joan Elizabeth Troop in Southport, Lancashire, Joan left school aged 16 years and started work as an apprentice at Boots the Chemist in Southport. She studied towards qualifying as a pharmaceutical chemist (PhC) by attending evening classes. After taking pharmacy exams in Manchester, she won a Boots scholarship to allow her to complete her PhC qualification in one year by attending Leicester School of Pharmacy (which she did between September 1950 and June 1951). She successfully qualified and returned to Southport.

Joan Troop had been taught dispensing at Leicester by Sidney Carter. After qualification, Sidney courted Joan in Southport and they were married in Leicester on 27 March 1952. By this time Joan worked in the Leicester branch of Boots. They had three children: Richard, Robert and Stephen. Joan no longer practised, staying at home to care for the family.

Joan’s husband Sidney took on the editorship and authorship of the classic pharmacy undergraduate textbooks: Dispensing for Pharmaceutical Students (initially with Mr Gunn, his head of school) in 1959 (published in 1965) and Tutorial Pharmacy, a collaborative effort with colleagues, published in 1972. There was a full revision of Dispensing for Pharmaceutical Students in 1975 for which Sidney was solely responsible.

The significance of this to Joan’s story is that she helped enormously in the background during the writing and editing stages of these textbooks. Not least she drew many of the diagrams and graphs. These were all done by hand using French curves, Letraset stencils for different font sizes and Rotring pens. The simplicity and clarity of these diagrams went a long way towards clarifying the students’ understanding of important issues. It takes some skill to make complex scientific relationships and manufacturing equipment clear and presented in a form that could be understood and reproduced by students in, for example, their examinations and later their career.

Joan critically read the copy and proofs of all the books and organised and checked the references. She also helped with the indexing (again by hand) using 1/3 size index cards. Each keyword had its own card and page numbers were added as the text was meticulously examined. Sidney was a perfectionist with an intense personality. Joan provided crucial and invaluable moral support to him and her family. Her sanguine character and steadfast affection enabled Sidney to realise fully his desire to be an outstanding teacher and mentor and allowed him to become the pillar of the college that he was for so long.

In 1984, Joan returned to practice. She and Sidney worked together to refresh her knowledge and she worked through that summer in a community pharmacy to reacquaint herself with those aspects. Further locums were curtailed as they got involved in home renovations prior to selling their home in Leicester and moving to Quorn.

Joan Carter was always deeply proud of her pharmacy qualification. It is her contribution to the books — the technical drawings, proofreading, indexing and, above all, moral support — that was so vital to Sidney’s work.

Michael Aulton and Robert Carter

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2023, Vol 311, No 7977;311(7977)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2023.1.196701

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