Benjamin Poulton’s Homœopathic Chemists

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  • Variations on Business Name:
    Poulton & Sons, Homœopathic Chemists
    Poulton & Son, Homœopathic Chemists
    Poulton & Owen’s, Homœopathic Chemists
    Owen’s, Homœopathic Chemists

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


(Also see article by Barbara Armstrong, “Two Early Homœopathic Pharmacies in Melbourne”, Similia, June 2008, Vol 20:1)


Benjamin Poulton originally ran a chemist shop in Geelong, established in 1849. In 1851 he appeared in the Geelong Commercial Directory and Almanac as being an importer of drugs and druggists’ sundries, a wholesale and retail druggist on the west side of Market Square, in Moorabool Street. In 1858 his residence was at Fenwick Street. He continued to appear in directories for 1861. His advertisements during this early period made no mention of homœopathic medicines.



               Advertisement for Benjamin Poulton in 1867


By 1866 a second homœopathic pharmacy had been established in Melbourne, under the name “Benjamin Poulton”. At first Mr Poulton operated from 10 Collins Street West. This was on the south side of the street, four doors from the corner of Elizabeth Street. He also ran a homœopathic pharmacy at 66 Cardigan Street, Carlton, along with Thomas Poulton and Benjamin Button.



                      Site of Benjamin Poulton's premises

189 Collins Street Melbourne is the number for the small white 2-storey building which is to the left of the Regent Theatre (far right).  It is now the Box Café, and has a modern façade.  However, from the early 1860s (when its original street number was 84 Collins Street East) through to 1900, it was the site of Melbourne’s second homœopathic chemist – Poulton’s Homœopathic Pharmacy, which eventually became Owen’s Pharmacy.

                             Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

According to the directory for 1868, Benjamin Poulton had moved to 84 Collins Street East. Along with Gould and Martin (later re-named Martin and Pleasance), Poulton supplied the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital with its remedies.


An advertisement in 1873 records that B. Poulton was a homœopathic chemist, selling homœopathic medicines, books and periodicals and medicine chests. 



               Advertisement for Benjamin Poulton in 1873


In 1875 the business name was altered to “Poulton & Sons” (Benjamin; George J., Samuel J.).   In 1877 Samuel left the partnership, and the business continued under the name of "Poulton & Son" until 1881, when the business reverted to the title of “Benjamin Poulton”.  


In 1879 and 1880 Poulton’s also had a shop at 83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, which George J. managed along with Mr A.P. Evans until George J. left Melbourne to travel to Western Australia in 1881.


The 1884 Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory listed two homœopathic chemists run by Poultons. One was run by Benjamin Poulton. The other was run by Robert Joseph Poulton.


From 1878, Benjamin Poulton’s residence was given as 15 Avoca Street, South Yarra.


By 1892 it appears that Benjamin Poulton had retired, and the pharmacy was renamed Poulton and Owen (George Jackson Poulton, who lived at the same address as Benjamin Poulton at 7 Loxton Street Kew, and Edward George Owen who lived at 34 Fawkner Street Kew). In 1889 the street numbers for Collins Street were altered, and the pharmacy’s new address was 189 Collins Street.


In January 1894 it was announced that the partnership between G. Jackson Poulton and E. G. Owen had been dissolved by mutual consent, and that Mr Owen would continue as sole owener of the pharmacy.


In 1895 Edward G. Owen, along with Martin & Pleasance, co-published E.A. Cook’s booklet titled A Study of Homœopathy.  It would appear that by this time George Poulton had left the business and the business was renamed, signifying that it was owned by Edward Owen. In 1896 and 1897 Owen lived at 60 Power Street North Hawthorn. In 1903 Owen resided at 160 Denmark Street, Kew.


Owen’s Homœopathic Pharmacy continued to be listed at the 189 address until 1922. In 1923 the Pharmacy moved to 102 Collins Street.


© Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Wednesday, 17 June 2009
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 17 August 2014