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History of Henry Wellcome

Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), the founder of the Wellcome Trust, was one of the most fascinating men of his time. A businessman, collector and philanthropist, he was born in the American Wild West but ended his days as a knight of the British Realm.

Wellcome co-founded a multinational pharmaceutical company that mastered modern techniques of advertising such as promotion, image and branding. The wealth that Wellcome's company brought him was invested in amassing an astonishing collection of historical objects, which at the time of his death was larger than that of many of Europe's most famous museums.

He also funded pioneering medical research. In his lifetime, scientists funded by Wellcome made great breakthroughs into understanding how our bodies work. After his death, Wellcome's will provided for the creation of the Wellcome Trust.

The Wellcome Trust's journey

Today, the Wellcome Trust is a champion of science, funding research and influencing health policy across the globe. From this perspective of strength and success, it's easy to forget the long path that led here.

Our journey started in 1880, the year in which a youthful Henry Wellcome left the shores of America to start a pharmaceutical business on British soil with fellow American Silas Burroughs. It was Wellcome's unyielding commitment to improving human health through research, and his passion for culture and the arts, that led to the Trust's creation in 1936 and that has inspired those who followed him to make the Trust what it is today.

In this film - a visual celebration of one man's vision - the 75 years of the Trust's history are distilled down to 5 minutes.

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Running time: 5 min 39 s

Wellcome's childhood The formative influences on a global tycoon-to-be.
Wellcome’s apprenticeship How Wellcome's childhood interest in pharmacy blossomed into a career.
The birth and growth of Burroughs Wellcome & Co. The story of the world-famous pharmaceutical company.
Silas Burroughs The man who gave Wellcome the chance to become a multi-millionaire.
Henry Wellcome the salesman How Henry Wellcome transformed the marketing of pharmaceuticals.
Syrie and Mounteney Wellcome Wellcome was less successful in private life than as a businessman and philanthropist.
Wellcome's research 
laboratories
How Wellcome pioneered pharmaceutical research.
The socialite How Wellcome's social networking boosted his company's public image.
The Wellcome Foundation Ltd How Wellcome consolidated his activities.
Wellcome's tropical medicine laboratories Wellcome founded tropical research laboratories in London and the Sudan.
Henry Wellcome's last years How Wellcome intended his life's work to be carried on after his death.
Wellcome the collector Henry Wellcome collected books and objects on a colossal scale.
Henry Wellcome's legacy: The Wellcome Trust The Wellcome Trust was established under the will of Sir Henry Wellcome in 1936.
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