Margaret MacKirdy was born in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, in 1830. Margaret was brought up in the Free Church and was actively involved in the School of Industry at Anderston, Glasgow, which had been established by elders of the St Matthews’ Free Church. It was whilst living at 150 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, in the early 1870s that Margaret married John Black, a shawl manufacturer. Their marriage was short-lived when he tragically drowned in the River Kelvin in 1874. The family had a strong friendship with Bailie William Collins, the Glasgow Publisher, also a member of the Free Church. He was on the sub-committee of the Glasgow School of Cookery responsible for finding a lady to be trained at the National Training School of Cookery. Margaret applied and was accepted for the post, teaching at the school from 1 June 1876 until 1878 when she left to open the West End School of Cookery. Margaret also wrote several books on cookery and household management which were published by Collins, including ”Household Cookery and Laundry Work”, “Superior Cookery” and “Hints to Young Housekeepers”. In September 1885, Margaret was created a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland and in 1891 was elected on the the School Board of Glasgow as a temperance and free educationalist candidate. She was also secretary of the Womens’ Liberal Association, an office bearer of the National Temperance Association, and a Parish Councillor. Margaret died of pnuemonia on 1 March 1903 at her home at 2 Clifton Terrace, Glasgow.