Introducing Henry Wellcome

The man behind Wellcome Collection

Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936): Pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector.

Henry Wellcome had an early interest in medicine and marketing. The first product he advertised was ' invisible ink' (just lemon juice, in fact). In 1880, he joined his college friend Silas Burroughs in setting up a pharmaceutical company, Burroughs Wellcome & Co. They were one of the first to introduce medicine in tablet form under the 1884 trademark ' Tabloid' previously medicines had been sold as powders or liquids.

When Burroughs died in 1895, the company flourished under Sir Henry' s leadership. He went on to establish world-class medical research laboratories and amassed the world' s most impressive collections relating to medicine and health through the ages.

Wellcome Collection is now housed in the original Wellcome Building (built to Sir Henry' s specifications in 1932), which is next door to the headquarters of the Wellcome Trust, his philanthropic legacy. His vision was to create a space to house his collections, where professionals could come to learn more about the development of medicine and medical science.

Learn more about the life of our extraordinary founder