Margaret Elizabeth Buchanan registered as a Chemist and Druggist in 1886 and was then the only female student at the Pharmaceutical Society's School of Pharmacy to take double honours in its exams. She was also the first woman to be awarded its Silver Medal.
Margaret recognised that aspiring female pharmacists needed an opportunity to gain training in running a business. In 1892, she wrote that "it is becoming recognised by the public and the trade that women can be both business-like and well-trained scientifically, the number of lady-pharmacists will doubtless increase as the field further opens up".
Margaret founded the Gordon Hall School of Pharmacy for Women in 1905. The school grew from a group of private pupils that she took on at her house in Gordon Square.
Between 1911 and 1914 Margaret bought a business at 17 The Pavement, as a training pharmacy for women. Her pupils at Gordon Hall worked there, three in the morning and three in the afternoon, to gain practical experience.
Margaret was the first female member of the Society's Council when she was elected in 1918, retiring in 1926. The Chemist & Druggist of 1909 described her as holding "the front rank among the women pharmacists of the British Empire.”
Margaret retired to Dartmouth in 1924 and died on 1 January 1940.