RPS Pharma Scene #8 - 1888 Christmas Special

With Fanny Elizabeth Potter

In this episode, we have a rare and remarkable Christmas treat, courtesy of our RPS Museum archives: a long-lost gramophone recording from 1888, made by the RPS' first female member, Fanny Elizabeth Potter.

Using the latest available gramophone technology, Fanny seems to have accidentally recorded herself serving a gentleman customer in her Fleckney shop on Christmas Eve 1888. The pair discuss the role of women in pharmacy, indigestion remedies, and natural versus scientific medicines. 

How could such a remarkable document have survived all this time?

About Fanny Potter

Fanny Potter

The first woman registered with the Society

In 1870, Fanny (Frances) Elizabeth Potter was the first woman to qualify for registration with the Pharmaceutical Society after the Pharmacy Act of 1868. She appeared on the Society’s register as a Chemist and Druggist that year, having qualified on 5th February 1869 by taking the Modified Exam.

Her first registered address was the same as her father, William Potter, who was also a pharmacist. They worked in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire until Fanny married Abraham Deacon the minister of Fleckney Carmel Strict and Peculiar Chapel, in 1875. The next year, Fanny and her father moved to Fleckney and she began working as a pharmacist next-door to the chapel.

After Abraham’s death in 1911 their son Augustine, known as Gus, took over part of the pharmacy premises as a watchmaker, and the shop became known as Gus Deacon’s Chemist and Watch Repair Shop. Fanny remained listed at Fleckney until her death, aged 92, in 1930.

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