From 1952, the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society had a history of pharmacy committee which, it was hoped, would lead to a History of Pharmacy Membership Group. This was rejected by the Council on the grounds that the Society could not fund the activities of medical historians and other non-pharmacist groups. The committee felt that to make real progress a new organisation should be formed that could embrace EVERYONE interested in the subject. A constitution was agreed in 1967 and the future planned for the British Society for the History of Pharmacy. The Pharmaceutical Society gave its approval and promised financial help, secretarial assistance and use of the Society's House at 17 Bloomsbury Square. This responsibility was later transferred to the Pharmaceutical Society's Scottish Department. Today BSHP has a secretariat, AssociAction Enterprises, in Leicester.
The majority of BSHP meetings have been held at the Pharmaceutical Society's Headquarters at Bloomsbury Square, later Lambeth and then East Smithfield. More recently the venue has been the School of Pharmacy at UCL. A conference was first held in 1968 in Cardiff, and has since been held annually in various towns and cities throughout the British Isles. BSHP is a long standing member of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy and of the British Society for the History of Medicine, delegates from BSHP often attend the respective conferences.
From its foundation, BSHP has been keen to encourage the study of pharmacy history amongst students. This advocacy role has included providing lecturers for history courses at Schools of Pharmacy, presenting evidence to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Education Committee, and representing BSHP with work alongside other organisations such as the British Pharmaceutical Students' Association and the Faculty for the History and Philosophy of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. BSHP has recently held a number of joint meetings with Schools of Pharmacy and held day and three-day seminars in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust and the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.
History of Pharmacy