Fanny Elizabeth Potter — the first woman in Great Britain to register as a pharmacist — has been honoured with a green plaque in the village where she lived and worked in Leicestershire.
The plaque was unveiled in Wolsey Lane, Fleckney, on 16 June 2022, by Kevin Feltham, chair of Leicestershire County Council, and Tracey Thornley, senior contract frameworks and outcomes manager at Boots and member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) English Pharmacy Board.
Following the introduction of the Pharmacy Act 1868, practising pharmacists were required to register with the then Pharmaceutical Society.
Potter qualified for registration with the Society in 1870 after taking the ‘modified exam’ for practising pharmacists on 5 February 1869.
According to the RPS’s online exhibition on women in pharmacy, Potter’s first registered address was in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, where she worked with her father, William Potter, who was also a pharmacist.
When Potter married Abraham Deacon, the minister of Fleckney Carmel Strict and Peculiar Chapel, in 1875, the couple moved to Fleckney, where she began working as a pharmacist next door to the chapel.
Commenting on the unveiling of the plaque on 16 June 2022, Thornley told The Pharmaceutical Journal that it “was a real honour to be at the event, and you could tell how proud the local community were of Fanny”, adding that it “is important to remember the women that paved the way for pharmacists today”.
Feltham said in a statement that Potter 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,” he said.