The chemist shop history


The Christopher Chemist Shop

Bradford on Avon Museum, Wiltshire


In October 1863 Thomas Prideaux Saunders opened a chemist shop in Silver Street in Bradford on Avon. Right from the start he was supplying some of the leading families in and around the town. He must have had some good connections in Bradford, although he seems to have come from Wiveliscombe and had been born in Bruton, both in Somerset.

Saunders was only 45 in 1881, but his health was failing and he sold the shop to his apprentice Albert Henry Cooper, who was born in Melksham. The next change of ownership came in 1891 when William Norris took over. He died at only 48 years in 1908 and his widow Winifred sold the shop to Richard Thorney Christopher, who was to stay there until his death in 1962.

Richard Christopher (1871-1962) came from Heckington in Lincolnshire after qualifying as a pharmacist in London in 1900 and having a short spell working in Singapore. He was very interested in antiquarian matters, especially about his trade, which is probably one reason that so many old items of furniture and equipment survived in the shop. He also took a keen interest in the history of Bradford and acted as a guide to visiting groups of historians.

On his death, his daughter Angela Mary Christopher (1916-1998), who had herself qualified as a pharmacist in 1939 and had been his assistant, took over the shop. When she retired in May 1986 the shop was very old-fashioned and much loved and was to become the nucleus of Bradford on Avon Museum.

> Other Bradford chemist shops.

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