Glossop Heritage Trust

A Glossop Apothecary



A Glossop Apothecary
SYNOPSIS by Fay Hartley, author of A Glossop Apothecary

A Glossop Apothecary traces the development of pharmacy through the work of seven proprietors of 7, High Street West, Glossop from 1838, when the premises were built by Bernard Edward Howard, the 12th Duke of Norfolk to the present time.
Thomas Peacock Wreaks, the first Chemist and Druggist became one of the first members of the Pharmaceutical Society on 1st July 1852; he was elected a Councillor in the first Glossop Borough Council of 1866. The Ducal Crest emblazoned above the shop door, bearing the Duke of Norfolk’s motto “Sola Virtus Invicta”-Virtue Alone is Unconquerable- dates from his time of occupancy.
After her husband’s death in 1869, his widow Phoebe Wreaks sold the business to Chemist and Druggist, Robert Proctor for £1,000. Robert Proctor had many creditors, and although he soldiered on through the boom and bust of the cotton industry, in 1897 he sold the business to William Grace Moran, a Freemason and Member of the Pharmaceutical Society.
W.J.G. Moran is remembered for the famous Moran’s Bronchial Elixir for which extravagant claims were made. He died in 1912 and the shop is supposedly haunted by his sombre spectre.
According to the prescription books from 1840-1899, pills were specially formulated for the aristocracy, The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, Baron and Lady Howard, The Earl and Countess of Arundel and Surrey. Other prescription entries for cholera outbreaks among railway navvies and parasitic worm infections in mill workers, demonstrate the poverty, overcrowding and unhygienic conditions of the working people.
My grandfather, Finlay McKinley, Member of the Pharmaceutical Society, who had been apprenticed to W.J.G Moran, took over in 1912. He installed electricity and joined both the local UCAL and the international United Drug Company of Boston - Rexall Goods trading organisations. In 1924 a lengthy dispute with the Royal Warrant Holders Association challenged his right to display a Coat of Arms resembling the Royal Arms, this was resolved when Finlay was instructed to insert “ By Appointment to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk” in place of “Late Moran”. Finlay McKinley died of lung cancer in 1951 as was succeeded by his daughter, Mrs Edith Oliver, who had qualified as a pharmacist in 1944. Her husband, Noel Oliver, gained a degree in Pharmacy in 1948.
On 5 July 1998, the 50th Anniversary of the NHS was marked by an article in the Pharmaceutical Journal featuring Noel and Edith Oliver.
I qualified as a pharmacist in 1974 and followed in my parent’s footsteps until 2006 when the shop was sold to the Cohen’s Chemist Group.

Further information can be found in my book, A Glossop Apothecary, which retails at £9.99.

To purchase the book please forward a cheque for £9.99, payable to Fay Hartley,
To: Mrs F Hartley, Padfield Brook Farm, Little Padfield, Glossop, Derbyshire. SK13 1ER.



The Ducal Warrant
Just about everyone who lived in Glossop in the 20th century will remember the Ducal Warrant over the entrance to Finlay McKinlay's shop at 7 High Street West. Since it was taken down people ask from time to time where it is, what is happening to it and whether it is to be put back in place. The photo on the right (Courtesy of Fay Hartley) shows the Warrant in place shortly after Finlay McKinlay took over the shop following the death of William Moran.

In order to preserve the Warrant it was given to Glossop Heritage Trust with the permission of the Duke of Norfolk. Such preservation is just one of the vital tasks that the Trust undertakes. The Duke wishes that the finished Warrant should be placed in one of the buildings given by previous Dukes so that basically means the station or the Town Hall or Market.

When it was taken down it was discovered that it is a lot bigger and heavier than it looked on the building, made of solid wood and has had to to have missing and rotten and damaged parts replaced. The Duke's Archivist, Dr John Martin Robinson, gave the Trust the names of restorers of similar items but the cost of professional restoration, coupled with the logistics of having to take it to places in the south of England for an accurate quote exceeded the funds available. Fortunately one of the members of the Trust board studied at art college and has the skills and knowledge to undertake the job. The work can, though, only take place as and when time and space permits as the same person is also heavily committed to work adding to the digital archives and other jobs for the Trust.

The lion and horse supporters have had damaged and rotten tails patched with seasoned timber. The lettering is cut from lead and the iron nails have rusted, expanded and rotted the pine meaning that they are difficult to remove. That is, however, essential inorder to be able to clean the wood and fill holes. The Ducal coronet was cracked till it was hardly fastened on so it has been mended and broken bits replaced, properly dowelled it on with a stainless steel plate for the back.

The photos below show the original state of the Warrant when it was taken down and some of the progress in restoring it. .
McKinlay's shop

Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant
Ducal Warrant




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Page last updated: 29 March 2017.