Manuscripts and Special Collections


The records we hold relating to pharmacists and chemists have been taken in because of their relevance to either the University or Nottingham. Most are very recent, with only a handful going back to the nineteenth century. The survival of the records has been uneven and we do not have complete business archives of any chemist or pharmaceutical company.  

The University of Nottingham has a School of Pharmacy, however the institutional records are not represented in our holdings.

The largest pharmaceutical company based in the region is Boots, which retains their own archive.


Many of the pharmaceutical papers are in the Papers of John Lawson (1878-1969) (catalogue record), who broke away from his family's textile heritage and instead trained as a pharmaceutical chemist. He worked at companies in Manchester and Leeds before being asked by Jesse Boot to join Boots in Nottingham as a manager. Lawson moved to West Bridgford upon employment with Boots and remained in the city until his death. Pharmacy-related records are present throughout his papers, including notebooks and textbooks relating to the teaching of pharmacy, patents, publications relating to pharmacy, chemistry and professional conferences, correspondence and policy documents relating to his work at Boots and advertisements. Those series of particular note include:

  • Papers, notebooks, correspondence and printed material relating to John Lawson's education, professional training and early career, 1892-1915 (catalogue record)
  • Papers, blueprints, correspondence and printed material relating to Lawson's employment at Boots Pure Drug Co. Ltd, 1915 -1963 (catalogue record)
  • Textbooks and printed materials of professional interest from the library of J. Lawson, 1886-1964 (catalogue record)

The other collection worth noting is:

  • Five volumes of Prescription Registers of The Park Pharmacy, Nottingham, 1920-1932 (catalogue record)

University Pharmacy records and other Health records

There are a handful of small collections from former staff and students within the  Pharmacy department, which primarily relate to their time spent studying or teaching Pharmacy and not their careers outside the University.

  • Student notebooks of Eric Thurman, a pharmacy student at University College Nottingham, 1928-1929 (catalogue record)
  • Notebooks and personal papers of Frank Berry (1908-1977), pharmacy student at University College Nottingham, 1930-1978 (catalogue record)
  • Reminiscences of Professor George E. Trease (1902-1986), Professor of Pharmacognosy in the Pharmacy Department, University of Nottingham, 1974 (catalogue record)

Archives relating to hospital Dispensaries are kept within the Hospital collections.

More information about these areas is available in Health Resources pages.

Next page: Commercial Associations

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651