Guernsey / Geschichte

​​Boots the Chemist​




​​In 1940, this Boots pharmacy in Guernsey was managed by Arthur Butterworth, an Englishman. Despite being expected to close the shop during Occupation, Arthur insisted that ‘My duty is with my staff, shop, and to the people of Guernsey’.

​​During Occupation, food scarcity and limited access to medicines meant the health and wellbeing of islanders suffered. The most common health complaints were dysentery, scabies, eczema, impetigo and tuberculosis. Arthur and his team developed ways to turn sea water into brine to preserve Guernsey tomatoes, manufactured their own medicines and toiletries using locally available ingredients, and developed an alternative to cod liver oil which helped counter an island wide vitamin D and A deficiency. With packaging for medicines also in very short supply, Arthur introduced a small deposit charge on glass bottles, ensuring most were returned. Corks were also an issue until an islander heard of the problem and arrived with four sacks full of fine quality corks in different sizes, apparently salvaged from a Spanish wreck off the coast in 1902!

Arthur’s wife, Sadie, manufactured beauty products, collecting local ingredients to make hair creams, baby powder, hand creams and more. Perfumes were a particular triumph after the discovery of a range of raw ingredients in another local chemists alongside boxes of empty elegant perfume bottles. Arthur and Sadie purchased these and used recipes from old magazines to create eleven different perfumes, made available at Christmas, which sold extremely well.

On 9 May 1945, Guernsey’s liberation, British troops arrived with food and English tea. In recognition of the work done by Arthur and his team during the occupation, the Medical Services Officer on the island wrote to Lord Trent, Chairman of Boots:

“I am writing to express my appreciation and thanks for the splendid work done during the whole time by your splendid manager, Mr Butterworth. He has given untold time in preparing lists of our drug requirements and has taken charge of them and arranged their distribution. He has been the greatest help to me and I shall always owe him a debt of gratitude and having formed such as high opinion of his business aptitude I shall hope to hear of a great future for him in your firm”.

Additionally, the Boots Booklovers Library service on Guernsey was a particular success during the occupation, with membership increasing from 877 in 1940 to 1,981 in 1944. This was due in part to the lack of other entertainment available to the islanders. Today, Boots pharmacy is still located here, part of the well-known British health and beauty retailer and pharmacy chain.

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47-49 High Street, St Peter Port, GY1 2JT, Guernsey