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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and School of Pharmacy

Also known as Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)/School of Pharmacy (now separate institutions)


It was established in 1841 as a professional association for pharmacists

It also ran a School of Pharmacy on the same site

The School of Pharmacy became a School of the University of London in 1926 and separated from the Pharmaceutical Society in 1949

Its new purpose-built premises were opened in 1960, still in Bloomsbury (in Brunswick Square)

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society itself moved out of Bloomsbury to Lambeth in 1976

What was reforming about it?

It was crucially involved in the transformation of chemists and druggists from tradesmen to medical professionals (Nick Black, Walking London’s Medical History, 2006)

Where in Bloomsbury

The Society leased 17 Bloomsbury Square within months of its establishment in 1841

The Society accumulated its collections of materia medica there (now held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

It also opened the School of Pharmacy there in 1842

The premises were remodelled for the Society in 1860

The Society also leased property in Pied Bull Yard behind 15–16 Bloomsbury Square in 1886, and began erecting new buildings there; in 1887 a porch entrance was erected in Pied Bull Yard (Thomas Edward Wallis, History of the School of Pharmacy, University of London, 1964)

The new buildings included laboratories, a large examination hall, and a dispensing-room (The Times, 17 May 1888)

Website of current institution

The RPSGB is at www.rpsgb.org.uk (opens in new window)

The School of Pharmacy is at www.pharmacy.ac.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Thomas Edward Wallis, History of the School of Pharmacy, University of London, 1964

Sydney Holloway, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 1841–1991: A Political and Social History (1991)

Both successor institutions have a brief account online, at www.rpsgb.org.uk/societyfunctions/aboutthesociety and at at www.pharmacy.ac.uk/history.html (opens in new window)


The archives are held by the RPSGB; Holloway’s history is based on these archives

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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