Beecham's Pills
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Beecham's Pills

Beecham's Pills were a laxative first marketed about 1842 in Wigan, Lancashire. They were invented by Thomas Beecham (1820-1907), grandfather of the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961).

Commercial history

Advertisement in Los Angeles Herald, July 20, 1893

The pills themselves were a combination of aloe, ginger, and soap.[1] They were initially advertised like other patent medicine as a cure-all, but they actually did have a positive effect on the digestive process. This effectiveness made them stand out from other remedies for sale in the mid-19th century.

The pills, and their marketing, were the basis for Beecham's Patent Pills, which became Beecham Estates and Pills in 1924, eight years after the death of Sir Joseph Beecham, the son of Thomas Beecham. The pills continued to be made by a succession of companies: Beecham Pills Limited, Beecham Pharmaceuticals Limited, Beecham Health Care, and SmithKline Beecham. The manufacture of the pills was discontinued in 1998.


The popularity of the pills produced a wide range of testimonials that were used in advertising. The poet William Topaz McGonagall wrote a poem advertising the pills, giving his recommendation in verse.[2] Two slogans used in Beecham's advertising were "Worth a guinea a box", and "Beecham's pills make all the difference".

The Cockney rhyming slang Beecham for a still (photograph) comes from Beecham's pills.

See also



  • "'Best for Me, Best For You'--A History of Beecham's Pills 1842-1998", The Pharmaceutical Journal. vol. 269, pp. 921-924.
  • Anne Francis, "A Guinea a Box: A Biography", London, Hale (1968)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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