Margaret Thatcher with 'I love Maggie' T-shirt, October 1987.
© Manchester Daily Express / Science & Society Picture Library
Margaret Hilda Thatcher (b 1925) 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 Spokesperson. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and in 1979 became Britain's first female prime minister (1979-1990). In 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.