Victorian pharmacy

Victorian pharmacist


During 2010, the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society was heavily involved in the research and filming of a BBC2 series Victorian Pharmacy.


 A selection of objects from the Museum’s collection and Briony Hudson, Keeper of the Museum Collections, were both filmed for the series. The researchers for the programme and the accompanying book drew heavily on the Museum’s collections and expertise to inspire and inform their work. The participants, particularly pharmacist Professor Nick Barber, used the Museum to support his exploration of the profession’s Victorian heritage.

Want to know more about the series?

For articles about the series click here.

To transfer to the BBC2 website click here.


Want to know more about Victorian pharmacy?

There are numerous resources on the Museum’s webpages that can support your own research into Victorian pharmacy practice and people. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us with details of your enquiry and we’ll do our best to help.

Our information sheet series includes details of equipment and items that were familiar to those working and visiting a Victorian pharmacy.

The Pharmaceutical Society was founded in 1841. Throughout the Victorian period, its members and staff worked hard to establish the profession. Find out more with our information sheets on the History of the Society.

If you are interested in investing a pharmacist working in the 19th century, we can point you in the right direction, or carry out research on your behalf with our People and Premises Research Service.

One of the most significant developments in the late Victorian social history of pharmacy was the establishment of women as equals in the pharmacy profession. Our online exhibition tells the story.

Jacob Bell, founder of the Pharmaceutical Society, was not just a pharmacist and politician. Through his patronage of the arts, he held a key position in Victorian society.  Most famously, Bell acted as business manager for his friend, Sir Edwin Landseer. Find out about Bell’s life and the circle of artists surrounding him in our Jacob Bell online exhibition.

A number of pharmacist working in the 19th century (and earlier) were talented innovators – and created a range of household items that are familiar to us today.  Is pharmacy ‘the mother of invention’? Judge for yourself by investigating our online exhibition.

If you want a helping hand to get started with your own research in pharmacy history, or are an experienced researcher looking for information about resources and collections, our online guide, Discovering pharmacy history will provide you with the support you need.