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The Widow Welch's Pills

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 SA/WWP
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: The Widow Welch's Pills
Date(s): 1787-1966
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 boxes, 1 outsize item
Name of creator(s): Members of the Kearsley family and business
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Catherine Kearsley and her husband were printers and booksellers in London in the late eighteenth century. They began the commercial production of Widow Welch's Female Pills, which they claimed to have as a family recipe, in 1787. There seems to have been some contention over who was manufacturing the true Widow Welch's Recipe, since the collection includes a handbill claiming that Mrs Smithers, as the granddaughter of the Widow Welch was the only person entitled to the preparation. It continued to be a popular patent medicine until the company ceased trading in the late 1960s.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to The Widow Welch's Pills, 1787-1966, comprising records of C and G Kearsley Limited, London, manufacturers of The Widow Welch's Pills 'justly celebrated for all female complaints'. Including family material and business records.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

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.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased from David Bluett in November 2005.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Wellcome Library Ephemera Collection contains an early 20th century leaflet advertising Kearsley's Widow Welch's Pills.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June 2008

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