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Box of 72 Fennings' Family Pills, England, 1940-1970

‘Family Pills’ were produced by a range of manufacturers who almost invariably claimed that their product cured a range of minor ailments, including constipation, headaches and nausea. Alfred Fennings (d. 1900) opened his first shop – the Golden Key pharmacy – in London in 1840. Highly adept at advertising and marketing, he went on to create a very successful business producing a range of products which became popular ‘over the counter’ medicines bought by generations of shoppers. Although several Fennings’ products are still sold today, some of his earlier claims – including ‘cures’ for cholera and whooping cough – were highly dubious. On his death, trustees took over the running of the business and the profits went to a children’s charity. (Pictured here with other Fennings’ products).

Object number:

1986-1249/70

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Glossary:

Glossary: Fennings' product

Alfred Fennings opened a pharmacy in London in 1840 which sold treatments for serious illnesses. A ‘Fennings product’ is from this company, which distributed its wares across Britain.