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 in