Evidences, 1883: Society of Apothecaries

Pages 349-350

City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 1. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Society of Apothecaries

The deputation withdrew.

The following gentlemen attended as a deputation from the Apothecaries' Society :—

Mr. J. Saner, Master, and Mr. J. R. Upton, Clerk.

3305. (Chairman to Mr. Saner.) You represent the Society of Apothecaries, I understand?—Yes.

3306. You have sent us a statement upon which you are prepared to answer any questions, I suppose ? —Certainly.

3307. That is the object of your coming here today, I presume?—Certainly.

3308. No one, I see, can be a member of your society who is not an apothecary?—No.

3309. And under the powers of your first Act of Parliament you have become one of the licensing bodies examining persons qualified to become apothecaries?—Yes.

3310. That is under the Act of 1815?—Yes.

3311. Was that your first Act?—That was our first Act.

3312. Then you have occupied yourselves a good deal in securing to the public the use of unadulterated drugs, I understand?—Very largely.

3313. You say that you have done that by means of a body created out of yourselves and allowed to use your name but placed under your control; what body is that?—The body is defunct now. A certain number of our members were allowed to subscribe and form themselves into a body to carry on the trade. It was what they called the United stock, and they carried on the trade until within about three years ago, when, in consequence of a change of business, the trade failed in a measure, and it was all wound up; now the society carry it on on their own account at the present time.

3314. Then what is your connexion with Apothecaries' Hall?—That is the place where we transact all our business affairs entirely. The trade and the court of assistants all meet there.

3315. I see also you state that you were the first of the medical bodies to institute an examination in classics, mathematics, and science to test the liberal education of candidates seeking to become medical men?—Yes, we first instituted that examination ourselves, but now it is very largely followed by all the medical bodies.

3316. You obtained an amendment of your Act of 1815 some years ago?—Yes, in 1874, in order that we could elect a better class of examiners by opening it to all physicians and surgeons as well as to our own body.

3317. And you have founded scholarships in medicine and surgery?—Yes.

3318. And also appointed a lecturer on botany ?— Yes.

3319. Then, putting it generally, your contention is that your society have active duties to perform, and are actually performing them to the general satisfaction of the public?—Quite so. I do not know anything that is left undone under our charter or those two Acts of Parliament. I believe every point is rigidly carried out to the letter, and more than that, we have endeavoured to improve in every way to suit the requirements of the times in which we live.

3320. Are you still the possessors of the Botanic Garden at Chelsea?—Yes, we cannot part with it. We have 5l. a year to pay to Lord Cadogan to keep hold of it, that is all.

3321. You are bound to maintain it for its present purpose?—Yes.

3322. (Mr. Firth.) The Company is now trading in drugs, I understand?—Yes.

3323. Then you are a trading Company?—Yes, we are a trading Company.

3324. I understood you to say that no one could become a member of your Company unless he was an apethecary, was that so?—That is so.

3325. Then have not you admission by patrimony ? —Yes, but the person admitted by patrimony is an apothecary also.

(Mr. Upton.) There are two instances to the contrary. Persons could be admitted, but as a rule the Company have admitted nobody but apothecaries with two exceptions.

3326. (To Mr. Saner.) You laid down the law or rule, as I understand it, stringently that they must be apothecaries?—Yes, we do so.

3327. According to your charter?—Yes, that is so. We have only two exceptions where they are not apothecaries.

3328. Is your charter different in that respect from that of any other company, so far as you know?—So far as I know it is.

3329. And I notice that you expend on the Chelsea garden 525l. out of an income of 2,414l. Is anything else spent in the direction of the trade in anyway ?— We have a curator who receives 100l. a year.

3330. That is included in the 2,414l.?—Yes. I was explaining how we spent so much. It is keeping the gardens up altogether. The curator has 100l. a year, and so on.

3331. But the rest is spent in keeping the Company up, I think, so far as I see. Do you consider your right of search still existing?—Well, I suppose it still exists, but we do not use it, because the apothecaries' shops have so altered.

3332. But you did use it down to the present generation?—Yes.

3333. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) You were originally united with the Barbers' Company, were you not ?— The Grocers'.

3334. And they took over the bulk of the properties I think, when you separated from them, you almost had to begin again?—(Mr. Upton.) Yes, they were the original Company, and we were dissociated from them.

3335. You are a great public benefit, I believe ?— (Mr. Saner.) We consider that we have done a great deal of good since 1815.

3336. (Chairman.) In any case there is no mistake about the fact that you do perform certain functions entrusted to you by Act of Parliament?—Certainly we do a great many.

3337. (Mr. Pell.) I see you continue the system of apprenticeship?—Yes, but, unfortunately, we have very few apprentices come up now, the times are so altered now that very few apprentices come to us.

3338. How many have you apprenticed within the last three years?—Well, I suppose not more than eight or ten.

3339. Who are those lads apprenticed to?—To general practitioners always.

3340. Are they supposed to require any knowledge beyond that of mixing drugs and compounding drugs ? —Yes, now they do particularly. Formerly their particular occupation was mixing drugs, because the general practitioners compounded and sent out their own medicines instead of giving prescriptions, but now they do not do that so much.

3341. This is one form of medical education ?— Yes.

3342. Is there any advantage in that over the education which a medical man might derive without apprenticeship?—No, I think not. Of course he is only apprenticed really for the purpose of becoming a member of the Company, he is not apprenticed for the purpose of becoming a medical man.

3343. But supposing he was apprenticed to a medical man and he afterwards abandoned that particular line of life, would he then become a member of your Company, or could he be admitted?—The question would arise whether he could claim by patrimony ?—

3344. He would have to fall back upon patrimony ? —Yes. We took advice some little time ago as to whether anybody could claim admission who was not actually an apothecary.

3345. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) I believe you are celebrated for the sale of genuine drugs?—That has been our pride all along.

3346. And you supply a very large number now ? —Yes, to hospitals and dispensaries.

3347. You are really most useful in your generation?—That is so; we have prided ourselves upon that all along.