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The Turner Collection

We are home to the Turner Collection, which chronicles the development of production and dispensing of medicines from the early 19th century.

The collection is displayed on the ground and second floors of the School and consists of over one thousand artefacts which reflect the changing nature of pharmacy.

Over centuries, the apothecary and later the pharmacist was required to prepare and dispense bespoke preparations for individual patients.

Turner cabinets
Part of the Turner Collection in Redwood

The early "simples" such as emplastrums, ointments, liquids and drug powders were gradually replaced by increasingly complex unit dosage forms such as cachets, pills, pastilles, suppositories, tablets, and standardised mixtures and emulsions.

Equipment was used to compound medicinal products, together with historical and contemporary glass and ceramic containers used to store and dispense the products.

Our two "drug runs" of drawers illustrate the broad range of natural products used in compounding. The prescription ledger records the bespoke nature of the recipes compounded for specific patients

Pharmacy history in Wales

There are a number of other collections and displays relating to pharmacy history in Wales, both in Cardiff and further afield:

  • National Museum Wales holds a collection of nearly 500 material medica specimens, donated and catalogued by Professor T.D. Turner OBE.
  • Cardiff University Library's Special Collections and Archives include significant resources for medical history, including pharmacy. The library's online resource DigitalSearch also includes images of pharmacy artefacts from the Turner Collection.
  • The Apothecary's Hall and neighbouring Apothecary's Garden at the National Botanic Garden of Wales provides an opportunity to visit a late 19th century pharmacy, and to learn about the plant origins of medicines both in Wales and around the world.
  • The Welsh Museum of Health and Medicine, housed at Cardiff University, has a significant amount of material available to view online. It is not currently possible to visit the Museum in person.
  • The Mushin Collection of Anaesthetics is housed in the Medical School at Cardiff University. William Mushin's library and personal papers are held by the University's Special Collection and Archives.
  • The Museum of Cardiff has a number of pharmacy items in its collection, most notably a drug run that originally came from Anthony's Pharmacy on St Mary Street, Cardiff.

Contact us

Briony Hudson

Briony Hudson

Honorary Lecturer - The Turner Collection