Aged To Perfection


L-J Andrew joins the celebrations as John Bell & Croyden, London’s favourite Luxury Beauty, Health and Wellbeing Emporium, marks its 225th year

Few pharmacies combine cutting-edge medical expertise, luxury amenities and a majestic history quite as well as John Bell & Croyden.

Located on the corner of Wigmore Street and Welbeck Street, close to the prestigious Harley Street district; the legendary store this year, marks its 225th anniversary, as an idyllic meeting ground for high-quality healthcare and luxury retail.

The exquisite Marylebone store has evolved to become a firm favourite of London’s glitterati, high-profile celebrities, wealthy tourists, and is perhaps best known for holding the highly coveted title of ‘Pharmacists’ to the late Queen Elizabeth II’. Amongst the prestigious and iconic individuals to have been associated with the brand, are the Duke of Wellington and the celebrated founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale, both of whom wrote notes to the pharmacy.

Behind the magnificent architecture – consisting of marbled flooring and rose gold fixtures, and an ornate ceiling that pays homage to the store’s heritage – is a highly respected brand committed to the Health & Wellbeing of London.

The store has successfully merged its unique centuries-old heritage with the beauty of modern-day innovation, progressively keeping pace with the times – having undergone a major refit in 2015 – to create a modern and distinctive pharmacy destination in the bustling heart of the capital.

Led by an experienced team, the Royal retailer continues to strive towards delivering expert advice, cutting-edge services, and the very best in innovative products for the mind and body.

Today, the store offers eight specialist health clinics, including osteopathy, podiatry and dental hygiene, and its pharmacy services include COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, diabetes screenings, blood testing, and pain clinics, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol checks and the new medicine service. It also features over 12,000 products from around the world – comprising new and exclusive beauty brands and award-winning British names.

Alongside extravagant items such as toothpaste infused with diamond powder and crystal-encrusted walking canes, the pharmacy also displays historical prescription books and fascinating equipment used in the past for pharmacy compounding, such as porcelain apothecary jars and pestles and mortars. Steeped in history, it’s an exquisite paradox merging the best of both worlds.

“For over 60 years, John Bell & Croyden were proud to hold the Royal Warrant as pharmacists to Queen Elizabeth II, an accreditation that we held from 1958”, James Gray, healthcare services manager at the pharmacy, comments: “The Royal Warrant was originally granted on behalf of King George V in1909 and we were equally proud to hold The Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen Mother until her death in 2002.”

The store’s Royal connections don’t end there. It also holds the recipe and a sample of the famous anointing oil used when a new sovereign is crowned – containing orange, rose cinnamon, musk, and ambergris. A replica of the original Coronation Anointing Oil, used during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953, is on display in store, kept firmly under lock and key.

The luxury pharmacy can trace its history back to 1798, when the pharmacy was first opened at its original premises on Oxford Street. The store was founded by pharmacist John Bell and his son Jacob, who were pioneering pharmacists and played key roles in the founding of Pharmacy as a profession in the UK. In 1841, Jacob founded the Pharmaceutical Society, now The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and launched The Pharmaceutical Journal, considered to be among the oldest professional journals in the world.

“In 1842, the store underwent a major refit. Back then, every preparation sold at the store was made on the premises, offering bespoke products with a substantial manufacturing facility onsite. In 1849, the business developed as both are tailer and wholesaler, offering an unrivalled breadth of products and services. And fifty-five years later, the brand– as it is known and loved today – was born, following the amalgamation of the business with Charles Croyden & Co. In 1928, the business was acquired by Savory & Moore, now Lloyds Pharmacy,” James adds.

While the award-winning store remains a pharmacy at heart, it is committed to branching out, innovating and keeping a finger on the pulse of healthcare. Over the last decade, it has invested in its online platforms, extending the physical reach of its historic bricks and mortar store into another digital platform, offering Londoners a sophisticated new way to access its 7,000 health and luxury beauty products.

Over its 225 years, the pharmacy has been seamlessly amalgamated within the fabric of London and has impeccably converged the world of luxury beauty and healthcare to establish itself as a landmark British institution.


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