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Therapeutic Research Corporation

  • The Therapeutic Research Corporation of Great Britain Ltd
Part of
Wellcome Foundation Ltd
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The majority of the files in WF/TRC derive from the the office of the TRC Secretary (in the main, from Dr Frank Hartley, TRC Secretary 1944-46), supplemented by a considerable number of research files and a number of files belonging to T R G Bennett (Chairman, and Wellcome Foundation Ltd).

As an organization comprising five distinct member-companies, each with an established style of business practice, much of the day-to-day work of TRC - aside from primary research - was administrative, involving many committees and sub-committees, and an extensive reporting procedure. Thus, the TRC Secretary occupied a pivotal position in the organisation. In addition, the work of TRC in the development and supply of penicillin in a time of war required close liaison with the offices of Government, in particular The Ministry of Supply, and with the Medical Research Council. The publication of pencillin research was subject to censorship. Collaboration brought together academic scientific researchers from the university sector and research scientists from private industry, which resulted in documented discussion of patent rights and patent assignment procedure.

WF/TRC comprises:

Minutes, reports and related papers of the TRC Board and the following Sub-Committees:
Biological Committee (Biol); Biological Standardisation Sub Committee (BS); Carragin Progress Reports (AC); Central Biological Institute (BI); Clinical Advisory Sub-Committee (CL); General Penicillin Committee; Mould Metabolic Products Sub-Committee (MMP); Patents Sub-Committee (PS); Penicillin Pharmacological Sub-Committee (Pen Pharm); Penicillin Producers Research Conference; Penicillin Synthesis Sub-Committee; Pharmacological Sub-Committee; Tuberculosis Sub-Committee.

Publications: TRC research papers and a promotional booklet entitled "A British Triumph. The Discovery and Development of Penicillin" (1945).

Progress and production reports relating to penicillin, Tercinin (patulin) and other TRC products.

TRC patent and trade mark applications, UK and overseas.

TRC and IC(P) photographs of stages of penicillin production.

Press cuttings relating to the formation and activities of TRC and the development and uses of penicillin.

Financial and legal correspondence and papers relating to the formation of TRC, including balance sheets, and TRC Articles of Association.

TRC Personnel files - an incomplete set of files concerning TRC staff, research staff and companies wishing to join TRC.

Correspondence files - TRC Chairman and Secretary to member-companies, research workers, chemical suppliers and others.

Papers concerning an Anglo-American agreement with regard to penicillin production.

Printing blocks - TRC logo and letterheads.



Physical description

79 boxes plus 2 O/S folders


Although many of the files are clearly from a filing system, the files have been dispersed in storage, and many other files were unmarked. It has, therefore, not been possible to reconstruct the system faithfully. The material has been divided into four sections:

WF/TRC/01: Press cuttings, research publications
WF/TRC/02: Secretary's files
WF/TRC/03: Papers of Research Panel Secretaries
WF/TRC/04: Files of the Chairman.

Acquisition note

Accumulated by: The Wellcome Foundation Ltd. These records were in the custody of the Secretariat, Wellcome plc before its merger with Glaxo. Immediate source of acquisition: Archives store, Wellcome site, Berkhamsted.

Biographical note

The Therapeutic Research Corporation (TRC) was incorporated 12 November, 1941. It was established "to accelerate the research and production of pharmaceuticals during the war years and in particular the production of Penicillin."

TRC comprised five member-companies: Boots Pure Drug Co Ltd; The British Drug Houses Ltd; Glaxo Laboratories Ltd; May & Baker Ltd; and The Wellcome Foundation Ltd. Collaboration was extended to include The Imperial Chemical (Pharmaceuticals) Ltd and some USA companies. In addition TRC funded a number of research groups at various academic institutions in the UK.

The Board of Directors was formed of representatives of each of the member-companies.

TRC Chairmen were:
Mr T R G Bennett, 1942 (Wellcome Foundation Ltd);
Dr T B Maxwell, 1943 (May & Baker Ltd);
Mr H Jephcott, 1944 (Glaxo Laboratories Ltd);
Lord Trent, 1945 (Boots Pure Drug Co Ltd);
Dr F H Carr, 1946 (The British Drug Houses Ltd);
Mr L Anderson, 1947 (Boots Pure Drug Co Ltd).

TRC Secretaries were:
Mr L G Matthews, 1942-43;
Dr F Hartley, 1944-6;
Mr K Carter, 1947.

Between 1942 and 1946 the TRC operated from:
183 Euston Road (1942-3);
General Buildings, 99 Aldwych (1944-5);
18 Rupert Street (1946);
19 Buckingham Street (1946).

Related material

1.5 linear m of records of Glaxo Laboratories Ltd concerning TRC (1941-1952) 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 & Baker Ltd (now part of Rhone Poulenc Rorer) concerning 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 TRC are held in the Boots Company Archives at Nottingham.

Ownership note

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


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