Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

180 Years of RPS!

The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was founded in April 1841 at a tavern in London by a group of leading chemists and druggists.

Less than a year later, the Society was granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation by Queen Victoria.

180 years later, and the RPS continues to support and represent pharmacists and the profession, with the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

Congratulations from HM The Queen

Read the signed letter of congratulation received from our patron, HM The Queen.

180 Letter from HM Queen

This letter was received in advance of the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh on 9th April 2021. We deferred celebrations on our founding date of 15th April out of respect.

The history of the RPS

Want to know more about the history of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society?

Our Museum Officer, Catherine, has recorded this look at some of our achievements over the past 180 years.

Find out more about the 180-year history of RPS on our virtual online exhibition.

The RPS Museum online

Quick Pharmacy Quiz

  1. What was the name of the pub, where the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was formed? 
  2. What report released in 1986 helped to expand the role of community pharmacists?
  3. Who wrote The Extra Pharmacopoeia
  4. Who was the first editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal
  5. Who was the first female president of the Society?

Answers below...

Some surprising inventions by pharmacists

Pharmacists have made some surprising inventions over the years, can you guess what they are?

  1. John Walker founded a pharmacy in Stockton on Tees in 1819. In 1827, he began selling what he called ‘friction lights’ after experimenting with antimony sulphide and potassium chloride. Walker did not patent his invention, and he was not credited with it until after his death in 1859.
  2. William Perrins and John Lea, two chemists and druggists from Worcester, created their own condiment. The exact recipe is unknown, but by 1865 it was so popular that they gave up their pharmacies to focus on its production.
  3. Joseph Swan worked in a pharmaceutical business from 1846, but his bright idea in 1877 got him into a dispute with American inventors Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan, about who invented it first.
  4. In 1723 Ambrose Godfrey tested a safety device on Hampstead Heath, composed of a small wooden barrel topped by a sphere containing gunpowder, a pipe and a fuse.

Answers below...


Quick Pharmacy Quiz answers Quick Pharmacy Quiz answers

  1. The Crown and Anchor Tavern
  2. The Nuffield Report
  3. William Martindale
  4. Jacob Bell
  5. Jean Kennedy Irvine.

Some surprising inventions by pharmacists answers Some surprising inventions by pharmacists answers

  1. A box of matches
  2. Worcestershire sauce
  3. Lightbulb
  4. Fire extinguisher.