Aberdeen’s Victorian pharmacy to feature in talk

Friday 30 July 2010

Fans of the BBC series Victorian Pharmacy are invited to visit Aberdeen Maritime Museum next weekend to find out about the city's very own Victorian pharmacy.

Jenny Brown, curator (industry) will be giving an illustrated talk on Saturday [7 August] about royal pharmacy Davidson & Kay, which had its first royal customer Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent in 1857, before being granted a Royal Warrant and becoming "Chemists to the Queen" in 1884.

Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums holds the whole contents of Davidson & Kay - a collection of national significance including items not known anywhere else in the UK.

Davidson & Kay was a traditional chemists dating back to the early 19th century and expanded greatly during the Victorian period. During this time the shop's customers included the great and the good of Aberdeen Society, prompting them to open another branch in the affluent west end.

Davidson originally had premises in Exchequer Row after a previous partnership dissolved. He then expanded to 139 Union Street, moving to 181 Union Street (later renumbered 205) when Kay joined the business in 1862.

The branch in the West End opened in 1885 at Babbie Law's corner (the corner of Union Street and Holburn Street which is now occupied by the TSB bank). In the 1930s they downsized slightly to 219 Union Street for the main shop and 3 Alford Place for the west end branch. The Alford Place branch, now a Lloyds pharmacy, is the one most people will remember.

Jenny will give the talk, called "Victorian Pharmacy: Davidson & Kay" at 12.30pm on Saturday, 7 August. The talk will look the history of the company and the changes in pharmacy during the Victorian period. The audience will have the opportunity to handle some objects and artefacts from the period.

The talk will be suitable for family groups, but children must be accompanied by an adult. It will last approximately 45 minutes and placed are limited, so booking is essential. To book a place call 01224 337714.

Aberdeen Maritime Museum is on Shiprow.