AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Fennings Pharmaceuticals

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 SA/FEN
Held at: Wellcome Library
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Fennings Pharmaceuticals
Date(s): 1830s-1990s
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 41 boxes, 1 o/s box, 2 o/s volumes and 1 o/s file
Name of creator(s): Fennings Pharmaceuticals
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Fennings Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1840 when Alfred Fennings (d 1900) opened the Golden Key Pharmacy in Hammersmith Broadway, London. Fennings sold medicines for the treatment of typhoid and cholera as well as for more minor ailments such as coughs and colds. However he was not a member of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and there is no trace of him in the Medical Register. In 1850 the business moved to Cowes, Isle of Wight and went into manufacturing. While the general management of the business, including advertising, correspondence, book-keeping, manufacturing and publishing was carried out at the Cowes office, manufacturing, packing and supply of various medicines was also carried out, under agreement, by Sanger and Sons (Seymour Works, 47 Lime Grove, Shepherds Bush London) and G.F. Sutton, Sons and Co. (Osbourne Works, Brandon Road, Kings Cross, London). These two firms collected all acounts due for goods supplied by them. After the death of Alfred Fennings in 1900 Fennings Pharmaceuticals became a Trust, with all profits going to Shaftesbury Homes, a children's charity. In 1948 the main office moved from Cowes to Horsham, West Sussex. From 1964 some medicines were being manufactured and distributed by J. Waterhouse and Co Ltd, (Church Street, Old Square, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire). There was also a manufacturing plant in Mabelthorpe, Lincolnshire. The company ceased trading in 1996. Fennings Pharmaceticals sold products across the Commonwealth, mainly in the area of child proprietary medicines.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Fennings Pharmaceuticals, 1830s-1990s, comprising corporate records, 1906-1957; accounts and other financial records, 1900-1993; marketing and public relations records, 1845-1988; legal records, 1866-1970; personnel records, 1910-1980; recipes, mid 19th century; personalia, mid 19th century-late 20th century; records of premises, mid-late 20th century; records on production, manufacture and licensing of medicines, 1951-1994.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged where possible within administrative functions. As follows:
A. Corporate Records, 1906-1957
B. Accounts and Other Financial Records, 1900-1994
C. Marketing and Public Relations Records, 1845-1988
D. Legal Records, 1966-1974
E. Personnel Records, 1910-1980
F. Alfred Fennings' Recipes, mid-19th century
G. Personalia, mid 19th- late 20th century
H. Records of Premises, mid-late 20th century
J. Product Manufacture and Licensing Records, 1951-1994

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner. Copyright: Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa, now known as Shaftesbury Young People.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The majority of the records in this collection were accessioned as a gift to the Wellcome Institute (now the Wellcome Library) from the Fennings Trust in May 1997. Some records had been donated to the Horsham Museum by the Trust in the 1970s and were thus transferred to the Wellcome Institute in October 1997. Mr C A P Merle, previously Chairman of the Trust, was in the process of writing a history of the business and continued to deposit records to the Wellcome Institute (January 1998, November 1998). Other records were also donated by the Fennings Trust to the Science Museum in the 1980s and to the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. However, it was decided that the Museums would retain the collections of objects (i.e. product and packaging samples) while the Wellcome Institute would continue to accept the business archive.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by C.A.P. Merle, formerly Chairman of the Fennings Trust, in May 1997 (acc. 707), and in March 1998 (acc. 755). Transferred form the Horsham Museum in October 1997 (acc. 737).

Allied Materials

Related material:

At other repositories: Relevant objects (product samples, advertising material, etc.) can be found at the Science Museum and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.
Sources used: Wellcome Institute's own administrative records and the Business Archive Council's database.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"