Allen & Hanburys Ltd.

Allen & Hanburys Ltd.

Allen & Hanburys Ltd. was a British pharmaceutical manufacturer, absorbed by Glaxo Laboratories in 1958. GlaxoSmithKline, its successor company, used the Allen and Hanburys name for the specialist respiratory division until beginning to phase it out in 2013.

The business was founded in 1715 in Old Plough Court, Lombard Street, London, by Silvanus Bevan, an apothecary and a Quaker. Bevan and his brother, Timothy, who became his partner and later succeeded him, were known for their just dealings and the integrity and quality of their drugs. The company grew into a respected pharmaceutical centre and had established a strong reputation with American doctors by the late 18th century.

William Allen, also a Quaker, and a well known scientist, joined the firm in 1792 and rose quickly to become the dominant personality. His second wife was a member of the Hanbury family and on Allen’s death, the Hanbury family assumed control of the company.

Daniel Hanbury became a partner in the firm and he was instrumental in making the name of Allen and Hanburys still more well known due to his correspondence with scientists all over the world. Growth of the company was continuous, but it was in the second part of the 19th century that developments on a large scale took place. Factories were built at Ware, Hertfordshire and Bethnal Green in east London.

The factory at Ware specialised in infants’ foods, dietetic products, medicated pastilles, malt preparations as well as galenical preparations, beginning production in 1892. Allenburys claimed to be pioneers in Great Britain in the production of pastilles, and thus the Ware factory also produced Allenburys Glycerine and Black Currant Pastilles, amongst another 80 different kinds of medicated and crystallised pastilles.

Allen and Hanburys was one of the first manufacturers of cod liver oil in Great Britain, and owned factories in the Lofoten Islands (Norway) as well as at Hull and Aberdeen taking cod directly from the North Sea.

The Bethnal Green factory carried much of the administrative and scientific side of the business, which included research, analytical control, chemistry, pharmacy and pharmacology. In this plant, galenical preparations, pills, tablets, capsules and other classes of pharmaceutical and medical goods were prepared as well as surgical instruments. In 1968 the company launched Ventolin, a drug which has been used to successfully treat asthma ever since.

The company had overseas branches in Lindsay, Ontario, Durban, India, Shanghai, Australia and Buenos Aires, and agencies in many other countries. The company address was for many years at 37 Lombard Street, London EC.