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Iconic Lowestoft pharmacy to close after nearly 200 years of service

PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 July 2012

The Chemist on Lowestoft High street is set to close after serving the community for nearly 200 years.

The Chemist on Lowestoft High street is set to close after serving the community for nearly 200 years.

Archant © 2012

IT opened at a time when opium was used for pain relief and cocaine lozenges were dispensed for sore throats.

But a Lowestoft pharmacy is set to close next week – 195 years since it welcomed its first customers.

The business at 59 High Street – run by Boots – has long claimed to be the most easterly pharmacy in England, and the shop still boasts many of the period fittings and posters that hark back to its earlier days.

However, amid growing competition from supermarkets and bigger town centre outlets, it will close its doors for a final time on Tuesday.

Anthony Wren, who owned the pharmacy for 12 years between 1988 and 2000, was sad to hear that the shop was closing after nearly two centuries. He praised the “charismatic” business and its loyal customers. He said: “One of the nice things about the pharmacy is that it still has some of the old fittings and adverts.

“It is a shame that it will not now reach its 200th anniversary. I was there for its 180th celebration and we all dressed up in Victorian clothing.

“When I was there, it was very busy. Customers got to know you and you knew them on first name terms.”

Although it opened in 1807, the earliest directory reference unearthed by researchers at the Lowestoft Record Office lists the premises as a chemist shop from 1867.

At the time, Robert Morris was listed in the Hukes Directory as the proprietor of the business.

Nearly 40 years on, Edwin Corkhill – a former mayor of Lowestoft – was listed as its registered keeper in the 1903 Kelley’s directory, while Sale and Nurse were its registered proprietors in 1909.

But in 2000, Alliance Boots – parent company of the national chain – took over from Mr Wren and ran the business for another 12 years.

Mr Wren said he felt there would always a place for a pharmacy in a small community, but understood that 59 High Street was unable to compete with increased competition from other bigger pharmacies in the town.

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