Robert Hampson, as a member of the Pharmaceutical Society’s Council, championed the rights of female pharmacists.
Robert Hampson was born in 1833. He was apprenticed at an early age to a doctor in Manchester and studied medicine at the Medical School and Royal Infirmary in the town for 2 years. However, ill health made him reassess his career plans, and he turned his attention to pharmacy. He passed the Society’s Major examination at Edinburgh and registered as a Pharmaceutical Chemist in July 1864. He practised for many years at Alderley Edge in Manchester and subsequently in Islington, London.
He was elected to the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society in 1872, and was an extremely active member. Amongst other issues, he strenuously advocated the admission of women, first to the lectures and laboratories of the Pharmaceutical Society, and then to full membership. After a heavy defeat in a debate on women’s membership at the Annual Meeting of 1873, Hampson did not re-introduce the topic until 1878. During this year, the motion to admit women to full membership was narrowly defeated at both the Annual Meeting, and the June Council meeting. However, the motion was carried at the Council’s October meeting in 1879. Isabella Clarke and Rose Minshull were elected members of the Society.
Robert Hampson remained a member of the Council for 26 years and was Treasurer for nine years.
He was also an active vice-president of the Personal Rights Association, a forerunner to the Civil Rights movement.
He suffered from curvature of the spine, and this, combined with his failing health led him to refuse to become President of the Society. He resigned from the Council in 1898 and retired to St Leonards-on-Sea, where he died on February 24th 1905.
Image above: Robert Hampson