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Our History Through The Ages

Our History Through The Ages

John Bell & Croyden can trace its history to 1798 when John Bell opened the original pharmacy on Oxford Street, London.

We are proud that John Bell and his son Jacob were pioneering pharmacists and played key roles in the founding of Pharmacy as a profession in the United Kingdom. Jacob founded the Pharmaceutical Society in 1841 (later to become The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain) and was the originator and first editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal.

He was a Member of Parliament for St.Albans, an art collector and a considerable patron of the arts with friends such as artists William Frith, Edwin Landseer, and William Etty and authors Charles Dickens and William Makerpeace Thackeray.

Until the advent of the 20th Century, the store was open seven days a week from 8am to 11pm. All staff were given time for recreation, religious observance and study and were actively encouraged towards self-improvement by attending lectures at the Pharmaceutical Society’s School of Pharmacy.

Every preparation sold was made on the premises, offering bespoke products with a substantial manufacturing facility on-site.

John Bell Croyden was acquired by Savory Moore in 1928, later becoming part of the Lloyds Chemist (now LloydsPharmacy) chain. Throughout its long history, many esteemed company names have been involved in creating the brand as we know today, including Savory & Moore, Allens Chemist, Cross & Herbert, R Gordon Drummond, Kingswood GK, Hills Pharmacy and of course, Lloyds Chemist.

Celesio AG, purchased AAH PLC (the UK’s leading pharmaceutical wholesaler) in 1995, and acquired Lloyds Chemists PLC two years later.  The companies then fell under the McKesson umbrella from 2014 until 2022.

From 2022, John Bell & Croyden, Lloyds Pharmacy and wholesaler AAH collaborated as a part of the Hallo Healthcare Group.

In September 2023, John Bell & Croyden was acquired by Bestway Healthcare Group and now operates as a standalone business.

Key Facts Timeline 1798 - Present

1798: John Bell opens his pharmacy on Oxford Street.

1841: His son, Jacob, launches “The Pharmaceutical Journal”.

1842: The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is founded by Jacob Bell

1849: Ownership passes to Jacob Bell on the death of his father.

1849: Upon the death of Jacob Bell, ownership passes to his partner, Thomas Hyde Hills, then to his son William Hills. The business develops both as retailer and wholesaler.

1903: John Bell & Croyden is formed with the amalgamation of the business with Charles Croyden & Co.

1909: John Bell & Croyden is first granted a Royal Warrant.

1912: John Bell & Croyden moves to its current location on Wigmore Street.

1928: The business is acquired by Savory & Moore (now Lloyds Pharmacy).

1958: John Bell & Croyden are appointed as pharmacists to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, holding the Royal Warrant until 2022.

1997: John Bell & Croyden becomes part of Celesio Group.

2012: Centenary at current location 50-54 Wigmore Street, W1U 2AU.

2013: Attendance at the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Festival.

2014: John Bell & Croyden joins Mckesson UK and is part of the group until 2022.

2015: John Bell & Croyden undergoes a major store refit.

2017: Winner of Realys New Store of The Year - Retail Week Awards 2017

2022: John Bell & Croyden becomes part of the Hallo Healthcare Group.

2023: John Bell & Croyden is bought by Bestway Healthcare Group and celebrated its 225 years by launching the Anniversary Award Competition to discover the next beauty brand of the future.



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