Cooper McDougall & Robertson Ltd

  • Cooper McDougall & Robertson Ltd
Part of:
Wellcome Foundation Ltd
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Records include:

* Board and subsidiary minute books and meeting papers;

* Secretariat papers and statutory records under the Companies Acts;

* Senior managers' papers (including K J Merrifield and A L McNeilly), including material relating to relations with external bodies and acquisition of companies, and reports on overseas visits;

* Financial records including material relating to salaries;

* Legal records including agreements and papers re litigation, patents and trade marks.

* Research and development papers and some relating to manufacturing;

* Marketing papers, including some operational papers, also company publications, product literature, memorabilia including photographs, films , printed ephemera, accounts of company history and material relating to the Cooper family and company employees; external publications; and objects including company seals.

* Miscellaneous operational records including 1940s complaints register;

* products; William Cooper's pestle and mortar [now missing], copy of publication, and notebooks, 1859-1880s.

* Acc 88/60: company publications.

* PB/080: publications from the WF series.

* Veterinary research and development records of the Coopers Technical Bureau incl correspondence, reports, experiment results, etc 1896-1956; correspondence with War Office re supplies of veterinary products 1914-17; dipping experiment tables 1918-37; complaints register c.1940-47.


ALM = A L McNeilly

CMR = Cooper McDougall & Robertson

V&A = Veterinary & Agricultural

WC&N = William Cooper & Nephews


William Cooper & Nephews Ltd; McDougall & Robertson Ltd; McDougall & Yalding Ltd; see also WF/C/S.

While Coopers was primarily a veterinary & agricultural products company, it was not entirely so. During the 1950s and 1960s, Coopers became the first firm in Britain to produce aerosols on a large scale, and this fact is mentioned many times in their advertising for such products. They also branched out, for a time, into the production and/or sale of domestic household goods such as cleaners, toilet rolls and hair care products. Not all of these were actually sold under the Coopers name, and some were manufactured by subsidiaries rather than by Coopers themselves.



Physical description

432 standard boxes, plus 22 o/s boxes, plus additional items (e.g. transparencies)


The collection WF/C is arranged as follows:
WF/C/E Board
WF/C/F Finance
WF/C/M Marketing
WF/C/P Cooper Family Personal Records
WF/C/RD Research and Development
WF/C/S Subsidiary Companies

Related material

See Acc 87/97 in box WGA 302 (note in attached guide to finding aids) **NB THIS ITEM NOT YET CATALOGUED, PLEASE ENQUIRE**

Associated material retained by GSK: Acc 99/2, Acc 99/6 pt, Acc 99/52 and Acc 99/60 among post-1995 accessions to the Glaxo Wellcome Heritage Archives (now held by GSK).

As at 2001, the Scottish Life Archive, Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, had a few items produced by Coopers (advertising material) - W.MS.1997.722/57.

A few items relating to Coopers are held by the Berkhamsted Local History Society.

A number of relevant records are held at Rural History Centre, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 229, Reading RG6 6AG:

Leaflets, pamphlets, labels and stationery samples 1880s-1920s; rival firms' advertisements, posters and leaflets 1880s-90s; press cuttings c.1889-1905; company publication re agricultural depression 1896; testimonials 1908-16; posters advertising sheep dips for home and overseas markets 1913-17; articles re company history 1960, 1972; annual review 1987; company brochure c.1980s; Coopers International News 1987-89. [Refs: TR CMR/AC7/1; P1/B1; P2/A-B; P3/A-B1; P4/1-4; P8-9; SP1]

Copyright note

Copyright assigned to the Wellcome Trust unless otherwise stated

Finding aids

See attached guide. Crate and box references are currently known only for material in crates 197-205 and 208.

Guide to extant finding aids

Unless stated otherwise, all these finding aids should relate to crated material.

1) In red ring binder (formerly yellow lever arch file):

3 lists of material 'from Cooper House basement', conserved by Bignell and Luff in the 1980s:

Numbered by SJAF as List 1, List 2 and List 3.

List 1: Formal layout arranged by company name. 11 pages. Possibly prepared from lists 2 and 3 - after conservation?? I have identified likely cross-references to List 2. Seems to cover volumes only. Some entries may be unique to this list (or on list 3?).

List 2: records collected in August 1987. 6 pages. Arranged by format (volumes, files, 'very mouldy files', box files, paper packages and photographs), probably prepared from looking at outside of volume or file. Many entries unique to this list. Possibly used to prepare List 1 - I have identified likely cross-references to that list. A couple of the photographs listed may = items among those I gave to the Dacorum Heritage Trust (see Accs not received file).

List 3: records collected in Oct/Nov 1987. 45 pages. Arranged by original basement location - location plan included. This is the fullest list. It is annotated with crate and box references for material in crates 197-205 and 208.

2 lists of 'Coopers Accessions':

Finding aids for Acc 88/46 and Acc 88/60, stored at Berkhamsted. The descriptions in the following notes come from the accessions register:

Acc 88/46: 5 pages. Arranged by 'large box' - 2 large boxes containing other boxes, these latter probably what are in the crates. 'William Cooper's "diaries" / notebooks, c 1859-85. Files of historical material- mainly gathered together 1980's. Complaints Register c 1940-1947. Products. Sir W Coopers pestle & mortar, "Dipping Experiment Tables" 1918-1937, Framed photos of Cooper Technical Bureau, Russell Sq London 1934, Berkhamsted 1947.'

Acc 88/60: 1 page. Arranged by format. 'Cooper's leaflets'.

Veterinary Berks Hill:

5-page list, should relate to material in crates 1-10 which was destroyed in March 1999. To be referred to if in doubt!

Acc 87/97:

1-page list of press cuttings, in WF Acc Box 35 (= WGA 302 at Recall). ie, NOT in crates.

2) On Accessions not received file [removed from 1) above]:

List of material from 'Kwanyanga research station, S Africa 1987', which was destroyed in March 1999. (Did these = Acc 88/57, supposed to be at Berkhamsted?)

3) On 'archived' file S/CRC/26:

Earlier version of List 1 in red ring binder (to be retained at Greenford) - same text on more pages (25)

4) References in manuscript accessions register, 1984-1989:

As well as the 2 accessions mentioned under 2) above (88/46, 60), see entries for

Acc 87/55 (was WF/254)

Acc 88/11 pt (was WI/73)

Acc 88/57 (was WF/354) (see note on 2) above)

Acc 88/70 (was WF/366)

all recorded as at Berkhamsted (although some doubt re Acc 87/55) and not listed electronically; photocopies of pages from register in SJAF's working folder

(are there any other entries?)

5) References in Wellcome lists and post-1989 accessions register (electronic versions available):

Up to 1989, also recorded in manuscript accessions register - but not at Berkhamsted, form part of main WGA series. Word search as required.

See especially CMRphoto.doc - describing 6 boxes of photographs which should be in the crates.

Ownership note

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

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