Dame Margaret Henderson Kidd QC, lived from 14 March 1900 to 22 March 1989. She was a pioneering woman lawyer. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Margaret Kidd was born the eldest of nine children in Carriden near Bo'ness. Her mother, Janet Gardner, was a teacher and her father, James Kidd, was a solicitor and Unionist MP for Linlithgowshire. She was educated at Linlithgow Academy and then studied law at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with an MA and a LLB in 1922. The following year she was called to the Faculty of Advocates, the Scottish bar, becoming its first female member (and, until 1948, its only one). When her father died in 1928, she stood as a Unionist candidate in the by-election for his seat, but was defeated by Emanuel Shinwell. In 1930 she married Donald Somerled MacDonald. They later had a daughter, Anne.
During an eminent legal career, Margaret became the first woman advocate to appear before the House of Lords and before a Select Committee of the House of Commons. And in 1948 she became the first woman to become a King's Counsel in Britain. She went on to become Sheriff Principal (the first woman to occupy such a post) for Dumfries and Galloway in 1960, and Sheriff Principal of Perth and Angus from 1966 until her retirement in 1975. She was also Editor of the Court of Session law reports of the Scots Law Times from 1942 to 1976.
She was made a DBE in 1975, and received honorary LLDs from the University of Dundee in 1982 and the University of Edinburgh in 1984. As a lawyer she is remembered as traditionalist and conservative in outlook, nonetheless quite capable of strong criticisms of legal and political institutions. Beyond her legal work, Dame Margaret was active in public life and in a number of charities. She became a vice-president of the Federation of University Women and was involved in the Queen's Nursing Institute.