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When pharmacists mixed medicines and ointments

Bradmore Green Pharmacy August 1994 - proprietor Brian Simpkins
Photograph by Norman Akers, courtesy of the former North Mymms Local History Society

Brian Coombe, who for many years ran the pharmacy on Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park, started as a “scruffy little schoolboy” helping his dad in what he described as a “general store” selling sweets and groceries as well as medicine.

After graduating and qualifying in pharmacy he returned to Brookmans Park as the “community pharmacist” offering advice and first aid when needed, including night calls to deliver oxygen to “save a life”. 

When Brian took over the pharmacy he had to weigh and mix the medicines and ointments. Gradually, dispensed medicines came in tablet form. New technology arrived when a tablet counter and a printer for labels were bought.

But despite the arrival of the “electronic age”, Brian kept reminders of the history of pharmacy on the shelves including 17th century mortars and 18th century scales and pill machines. 

He sold the pharmacy in early 1990s but carried on as locum for the new owner, retiring in 2015 when the pharmacy was taken over by Jhoots.    

Brian Coombe wrote about his experience as Brookmans Park’s pharmacist in the December 1984 issue of the Chancellor’s Community Newsletter, which is reproduced here with permission of the publisher.

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