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Wellcome Foundation Ltd

Wellcome Foundation Ltd
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About this work


The archive comprises material from Burroughs Wellcome & Company (BW&Co) and, from 1924, the Wellcome Foundation Ltd (WF).

Notable elements of the archive are:

* Some records of the pre-partnership S M Burroughs Company.

* Papers for the two founders Henry S Wellcome and Silas M Burroughs.

* Papers of senior managers from BW&Co/WF.

* Legal Papers, particularly concerned with Trade Marks and Stamp Duty.

* Marketing records - including operational papers, a large collection of images and of publications.

* Some financial records, mainly regarding salaries.

* Papers relating to WF sites, such as the Wellcome Chemical Works, Dartford.

* The records of Coopers, the subsidiary veterinary company, together with records of Coopers own world-wide subsidiary companies. (See separate entry WF/C)

* Records of related bodies, the British Insulin Manufacturers Association and The Therapeutic Research Corporation

Please note that Board Minutes & Papers, and the Research & Development papers have been retained by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) (formerly GlaxoWellcome (GW)).


There were several sites used by the Wellcome Foundation and by Coopers, McDougall Robertson. The following gives a good indication of sites for which material can be found but is not exhaustive:


* Beckenham - site of the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories from 1921, 'Langley Court'.

* Berkhamsted - this was the main office and works site for Coopers, McDougall Robertson the veterinary medical supplies company. The Cooper family were prominent in local society and economy and there are many specifically personal and local history items held in the archive.

* 'Brockwell Hall', Herne Hill - site of the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories from 1897 -c.1921.

* Dartford Chemical Works from 1888- previously 'Phoenix Paper Mills', the site included 'Kepler Wharf'. Nearby was the 'Wellcome Club & Institute'.

* Euston - The Wellcome Building 183 Euston Road, originally 'The Wellcome Research Institution' later called the 'Wellcome Building', from 1932. Also Unicorn House - the Head Office of the Wellcome Foundation from 1990.

* Frant - the Veterinary Research Station, it consisted of Ely Grange & manor House, with several farms. The most well-known farm was 'Tyburn Farm' where 'Code Name Operation Tyburn' (research into Scrub Typhus) took place during WW2.

* Snow Hill - the Head Office site near Holborn Viaduct. Various offices were used from 1879 when Burroughs arrived in London, however the company settled in one set of offices until they were bombed in WW2.

* Wandsworth - 'Bell Lane Wharf' the site of the first factory from 1883.


Both Wellcome and Coopers were international companies from very early in their histories with offices and sales agents across the globe.

The circa dates given are from the establishment of subsidiary companies, though both companies had dealings in the countries from before these dates. So although Ireland and Spain only gained subsidiary companies late in Wellcome's history, these countries had been targeted from the 1880s. Some of the cities where the main offices were based are also indicated:

* Africa - Egypt, Ghana, Kabete, Kenya (1955), Nairobi, Nigeria, South Africa (1902 - East London, Johannesburg), Tanzania (1974), Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

* America - Argentina (1910), Brazil (1955), Canada (c1906), Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico (1967), USA (1906 - New York; Greenville; Tuckahoe; Research Triangle Park),

* Asia - Arabian Gulf (1977), Ceylon (1976), China , Hong Kong (1972), India (1912), Indonesia, Iran (1973), Japan (1971), Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia (1968), Nepal, Pakistan (1956), Philippines (1968), Saudi Arabia, Shanghai (1908), Singapore (1968), Syria, Taiwan, Thailand (1972),

* Australasia - Australia (1886 - Sydney), New Zealand (1954)

* Europe - Austria (1972), Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Germany (1967), Greece, Holland (1967), Hungary, Ireland (1972 - Dublin), Italy (Milan 1905), Malta, Monaco (1964), Norway, Portugal (1973), Russia, Spain (1966), Sweden, Switzerland (1978), Turkey

* In addition Wellcome's work on the Wellcome Research Laboratories (later the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories) at Gordon College, Khartoum in the Sudan are also well documented - particularly in Wellcome's correspondence (see WF/E/01).


Coopers had a strong connection with countries that had large sheep or cattle herds (hence little connection with Asia). Those with no dates in brackets were formed as companies pre 1960:

* Africa - Kenya, Rhodesia, South Africa, Uganda (1971), Zambia (1969)

* America - Argentina, Paraguay (1969), Peru (1965), Uruguay, USA, Venezuela (1965)

* Australasia - Australia, New Zealand

* Europe - Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Spain



Physical description

350 linear metres 2009 boxes, 900 plans, 266 certificates, 341 guard books, 135 items, 6433 images, 57 rolls of film, 731 av tapes, 42 vols, 1 digital item 40.6 MB (42587660 bytes)

Acquisition note

Primarily acquired from Glaxo Smith Kline by deposit in 2001.

Related material


London University: School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds lectures, speeches, MSS rel to tropical medicine, research notes, corresp and papers rel to his role as Director of the School, 1907-46 (Reference: Andrew Balfour Papers) Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections holds letters rel to the Sudan, 1903, 1924 (Reference : BALFOUR A); also corresp with Sir Reginald Wingate, 1903-13 (Reference : Wingate papers)

Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds MS bibliography of current work in tropical medicine, c1902-1930 (Reference : MSS 7046-56), also Papers submitted to the Journal of Tropical Medicine (Reference MS.6937) which contains 3 articles by Balfour; also the Wellcome Archive contains several sources for Balfour, notably the records of the Wellcome Bureau of Scientific Research of which AB was Drirector. The BSR Archive includes a series called 'Balfour's Papers' (Reference WA/BSR/BA), Corresp between HSW/AB is also found in the WA collection (e.g. Reference: WA/HMM/CO/Ear/42);


Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine also holds papers, inc. letter books (Reference : PP/SMB) whilst the Wellcome Archive holds a number of addiitonal items (Reference WA).


The main collection of Henry Hallett Dale's Personal Papers are held by the Royal Society Archive (Reference : HD)

Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine (Reference PP/HHD) holds 1 box of Dale papers, including Experimental Notebooks; also (Reference : PP/LEW) corresp with Sir Thomas Lewis (1921-42 ); also GC/67 Copy documents collected by Sir Henry Dale c.1959 relating to the controversy over the responsibility for the discovery of insulin in Toronto in 1922; additonal corresp with Dale can be located in the WL Archive Collections, notably corespondence with HSW in the WA Collection, but also elsewhere with other scientists. There are also copies of articles by Dale both in the Library collection and Archives & Manuscripts.

The Royal Institution of Great Britain holds corresp and papers, 1942-65 (Reference : Henry Hallett Dale Collection), also a portrait of Sir Henry Hallett Dale

The National Archives: National Archives holds papers relating to the Scientific Advisory Committee 1940-48 (Reference : CAB127/213-38)

Cambridge University: Churchill Archives Centre holds corresp with AV Hill, 1929-68 (Reference : AVHL)

Glasgow University Archive Services holds corresp with Edward Hindle 1925-28 (Reference : DC/75)

Rice University: Woodson Research Center holds corresp with Julian Huxley 1923-65 (Reference : Julian S Huxley papers)

Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts holds corresp rel to Society for Protection of Science and Learning 1933-68 (Reference : SPSL)

Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives holds corresp with Sir Frank Young 1935-75.

FB POWER: A small collection of manuscripts by or about Power, including some of his correspondence and a typescript biographical memoir by his daughter, is housed in the Kremers Reference Files of the F B Power Pharmaceutical Library at the University of Wisconsin - Madison [source: John Parascandola, 2003]


HSW correspondence to Stanley as at 2003 are held at the Royal Geographic Society as the 'Stanley Archive'. (also HSW corresp with William Hoffman)


Wingate was Governor-General of the Sudan and Sirdar of the Egyptian Army from 1899 to 1916.

The main collection of papers is at Durham University Library: Archives and Special Collections (Reference: Wingate papers)

Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds corresp in WA/HSW/CO/Ind/A.14 There are letters between HSW and FRW re Balfour, the Gordon College Khartoum and the Sudan.


MSS.8185-8186, 8188-8189, 8303-8307, 8321, 8524-8525, 8539, 14 volumes, 2 bundles.

Miscellaneous historical essays, written by individuals employed by or associated with the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum.


MS.8071 Liber de Corporis Humani Fabrica c1921

Tracings of the five anatomical drawings and the inserted drawing of sick lady from `Liber de corporis humani fabrici cum picturis sub hisce capitibus distributus' (Bodleian Library, Ashmolean Collection MS.399.5), c.1291; interleaved with Burroughs Wellcome advertising material using these drawings.


The Oxford University: Griffith Institute holds journals, excavation records (re Abu Geili, Jebel Moya, Saqadi, Dar el-Mek etc), indexes, maps, plans and photographs (Reference : MS.Collections)


The British Library hold original copies of patent applications. Wellcome submitted several such applications.

Leeds Public Library also hold copies and will provide copies for a small fee. - Correct as at 2002.


Records of the Ministry of Labour, are held by the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), UK. (for schemes such as the National Scheme for the Employment of Disabled Men)


See Coopers Collection description


Related material:

1.5 linear m of records of Glaxo Laboratories Ltd concerning the TRC, 1941-1952, are also held in the Glaxo Wellcome Heritage Archives as part of the Glaxo Group Archive (see GGA 3, GGA 10, GGA 15, GGA 30, GGA 35, GGA 37, GGA 110, GGA 449, and GGA 456).

Associated material:

An unknown quantity of records of May and Baker Ltd (now part of Rhone Poulenc Rorer) concerning the TRC are held by Rhone Poulenc Rorer at Dagenham. 10 bundles (c 2 linear m) of records of The Boots Pure Drug Co Ltd concerning the TRC are held in the Boots Company Archives at Nottingham.


Acc 96/41:1, Acc 98/40:2, Acc 99/10:14, and Acc 99/63: 5-6 among post-1995 accessions to the Glaxo Wellcome Heritage Archives (to be retained by GW).

Original films referred to as the company's 'film library' transferred by the Wellcome Foundation Ltd to the custody of Michael Clark, Wellcome Trust, in 1987-8.


Copies of images, both photrographs and images taken from manuscripts are held in the Wellcome Trust Image Library


large number of BW&Co objects are held at the Science Museum, including medicine cases, bottles, packaging. Also, Wellcome's personal collection of objects on the history of medicine.

Copyright note

Copyright was assigned to the Wellcome Trust for all material created or commissioned by the Wellcome Foundation, its successors and associated companies. The copyright in third party material (ie material not created by WF such as letters and publications from external sources, magazine articles, newspaper cuttings etc) is assumed to remain with the creator or his/her heirs. Where third party material exists, this has been noted at item level.

Appraisal note

Accumulated by the Company Records Centre, The Wellcome Foundation Ltd, Dates of accumulation: c 1987-1989

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

40 boxes received March 2011 (acc. 1803), consisting of: 409 laboratory notebooks generated by the staff of Burroughs Wellcome & Co, Experimental Department and the Wellcome Chemical Research Laboratories. Containing detailed notes and calculations of chemical processes and experiments carried out on a wide variety of natural and man-made substances (liquid, solid and gas).

2 boxes received February 2012 (acc.1880) consisting of issues of Wellcome News covering: 1944-1946 and 1957-1995.

13 boxes and 1 volume of slides, microfilm and photographs, mainly relating to Beckenham.

51 Guardbooks. These are extremely fragile and will require extensive conservation before they can be catalogued.

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