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Philip Harris Ltd.

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Title: Philip Harris Ltd.  
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Subject: Alfred Bird
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Philip Harris Ltd.

Philip Harris Ltd was a British laboratory supply company (part of Philip Harris plc) with a long history that has now been subsumed into a succession of larger, more anonymous corporations. The company brand name is now owned by Findel plc.

In its heyday the company was known to all science teachers in the UK (and many world-wide) as one of the two "first-call" suppliers for the peculiar needs of school science.

The company was originally based in Digbeth, Birmingham and started by Thomas Ellis, a surgeon, in 1817. At the time Philip Harris would have been only 15 or 16 years old, and he joined Ellis in 1825.

The company traded as a wholesale Chemical Laboratory Company occupying its Bullring site until 1889 (when according to their 'Catalogue of chemical and physical apparatus and chemicals', dated 1889, silver nitrate was selling for 9 shillings per ounce!). They moved to 144-146 Edmund Street at some time around the turn of the century.

They started manufacturing medicines and drugs in 1866, adding to their sales of chemist and surgical products.

Later biological and manufacturing units were established at Weston-super-Mare in the 1960s and 70s. The main office was latterly at Shenstone near Lichfield. The biological unit 'Harris Biological Supplies Ltd,' was established in Weston-super-Mare around October 1965, when it moved from Arundel Street, Sheffield; having traded previously as South Yorkshire Biological Supplies Ltd, prior to acquisition by Philip Harris Ltd.

A reputation for forward-thinking innovation was established in the 1960s by research staff working with leading-light science teachers involved in the development of the "Nuffield" modern science education courses. This innovation continued into the 1980s and 1990s with the development of some of the earliest scientific data-loggers to appear anywhere outside of academic research laboratories.

This innovation reputation persists today - even if only for a brand name rather than a company in its own right.


External links

  • Official website
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