5 Things You Didn't Know About Margaret Thatcher

On May 4, 1979, Margaret Thatcher was sworn in as the first female prime minister of Great Britain.Known to many as the Iron Lady, she was the longest-serving prime minister in the 20th century and the first female British PM. Here are five things you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher...

She Was Instrumental in Developing Soft-Serve Ice Cream # Every time you get soft-serve ice cream, you can thank the Iron Lady herself. Before moving into politics, Thatcher was a food scientist who had studied chemistry. At one point, she and other scientists worked on a project to add air to ice cream, which would produce a product with fewer ingredients to save companies money. The result was a softer ice cream with the consistency of whipped topping. The product became known in the UK as Mr. Whippy.


She Served as Prime Minister Longer Than any Other 20th Century Figure Thatcher was first elected as prime minister in 1979, reelected in 1983 and again in 1987. Following divisions in the party regarding the European Community and a poll tax, she resigned as both prime minister and Conservative leader in 1990. Her service as prime minister to Great Britain was the longest since Lord Liverpool, who served from 1812 to 1927.


She's the Subject of a Public Holiday in the Falkland Islands # Thatcher acted quickly when Argentina tried to take over the Falkland Islands, a British territory off the coast of Argentina. The result was a two-month battle that saw the UK retain control over the area. As a tribute to Thatcher, the Falkland Islands celebrate Margaret Thatcher Day every January 10. 

She Lost Her First Bids for Election Thatcher ran as the youngest candidate for the House of Commons at age 24. She lost the race but ran again the following year, losing for a second time. In her third race, she won the seat representing the Finchley Borough constituency, which is in northern London.

The IRA Tried to Kill Her On October 12, 1984, Thatcher was in Brighton at the Grand Hotel for an annual conference of the Conservative Party when a 20-pound gelignite bomb, planted by the Irish Republican Army, went off. The bomb had been placed in the bathroom of the suite where Thatcher was staying. Five people died and 30 were injured, but Thatcher and her husband survived unharmed.