20th century
Part of:
Wellcome Foundation Ltd
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work



The marketing records make up the majority of the surviving records in the WF Archive, these include:
*A few pieces of original artwork.
* Audio Visual material - films and oral histories.
* Certificates, Diplomas and Awards, mainly awarded to the company by trade organisations for products.
* Guard Books of organisational circulars, advertising literature, advertisements, product labels.
* Papers for company histories also some objects.
* Images, including photographs, prints, negatives, microfilm and slides.
* Marketing and Publicity operational files.
* Publications by WF (including diaries and product booklets).
* Press Cuttings about the company.
* WF Product Literature.

The marketing records are the strength of the WF Archive, the series are complete and span immense time periods. This reflects the central importance of marketing in the organisation. The audience targetted by the marketing including high level medics (specialist and consultants in a particular field), general medical staff (doctors, nurses, general practitioners) specialist general medical staff (paediatric medics, army medics), general public (Tabloid Tea), mothers (see Kepler humanised milk and Calpol) and children (see Alcopar). They also targetted certain products at men (specific medicine cases) and women (Hazeline). It is rare that such a range of audiences whould be illustrated in one archive, particulalry as the range of products being marketed include cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, over the counter popular remedies, cosmetics and household goods (such as lanoline soap). The Price Lists which date from as early as 1881are a mine for information on the company's products. From the beginning Henry Wellcome took great personal interest in the marketing campaigns and strategies of the company. He often named products and was highly involved with the protection of the Burroughs Wellcome & Co range of products. Trade marks were used from the very start - with the registration of Hazeline and Kepler. The Legal and Marketing records have much in common in illustrating the creation and protection of patented goods. The Marketing records also illustrate the development of products over time - in many instances in over 50 years.The product literature produced was mainly printed on the in-house press at Dartford (also known as 'The Foundaiion Press') and this in part explains why there is such a complete set of printed material. Although 'in-house' the quality of the advertising was very high. The illustrations and typography are all highly professional when compared with external advertising of the time. Few original artworks remain but the range of artistic styles and layouts shows great experimentation and interest. From it's first year in business the company was entered into international trade fairs and exhibitions, always with new display cases and products for the trade to inspect. Wellcome was often instigating Burroughs Wellcome & Co involvement, and frequently wrote to conference organisers ensuring that Burroughs Wellcome & Co had the best possible stand.


This was a particularly successful strategy initiated by Henry Wellcome. Upon meeting Henry Morton Stanley, the renowned explorer, Henry Wellcome created a personalised medicine case for Stanley to use on his travels. Stanley endorsed the range, with the endorsements being used in company literature such as the price lists. Stanley also wrote positively about the products in his own writings on his Congo explorations.

Following this success Wellcome produced personalised medicine cases for many of the famous explorers of the period - when exploration was extremely popular. Medicine Cases for the tropics, polar regions, for mountain climbing, early aeroplane flights were all prepared and offered to explorers for free.

These explorers followed Stanley in endorsing the products, and often provided useful feedback for the company. Not only was the company reflected in the publicity surrounding the explorations in the form of press reports interviews and books, but the company produced adverts and pamphlets illustrating the explorers achievements. Although primarily aimed at professional travellers and explorers, cases were also offered to important people in the medical profession or society: The Houses of Parliament and Queen Victoria's doctor were both offered cases. The range of medicine cases soon expanded to include cases which could be bought by the public - personalised in this instance for thecyclist, motor car, the home, for work or for on holiday. The price lists gave details of which would be most suitable for a given situation, and products could be exchanged to create a more personal case.

The cases included non-pharmaceutical products, such as 'Tabloid' bandages and lint. Tabloid photographic chemicals were also produced and supplied to explorers wishing to take a photographic history of their travels. By 1902 there were 18 products in this range and explorations in Antarctica (Scott's 1910 expedition) and the ascent of Everest (Captain J Noel's expedition 1921-24) both used Tabloid chemicals to develop photographs on site. The company was then permitted to make use of these for marketing purposes in subsequent years.

Wellcome himself took a very personal interest in the provision of the explorers medicine cases and collected the used cases for his historical museum. Many of these survive and are held at the Science Museum. Details of the medicine cases, and the explorers, can be found throughout the Marketing Collection in the WF Archive.


20th century

Physical description

681 boxes plus 6433 images plus 57 rolls of film plus 341 GB's, plus 266 certificates, plus 731 av tapes, plus 1 digital item. 40.6 MB (42587660 bytes)

Related material

The British Library hold original copies of patent applications. Wellcome submitted several such applications, such as the following: 18xx - ctest111; Leeds Public Library also hold copies and will provide copies for a small fee. Correct as at 2002.

Ownership note

Please see main WF collection description (ref. 'WF').


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