Margaret Thatcher, British politician, c 1980s.
© Manchester Daily Express / Science & Society Picture Library
Margaret Hilda Thatcher (nee Roberts) was born in 1925. She studied chemistry at Oxford University, and worked as a research chemist before becoming a barrister in 1954. She began her parliamentary career in 1961. In 1970 she was made Secretary of State for Education and Science, and in 1974, Opposition Front-bench Spokesman. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and in 1979 became Britain's first female prime minister. After three general election victories in November 1990 she was forced out of office by her own party, and in 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Barones Thatcher of Kesteven.