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British Industrial History

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Roche Products

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6 Falcon Way, Shire Park, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

  • 1868 [1] Fritz Hoffmann-La Rochewas born.
  • 1896 On 1 October, he launched his company as a successor to Hoffmann, Traub and Co, in Basel, Switzerland. His intention was to develop and manufacture new drugs of uniform strength and quality, and to distribute them internationally.
  • From 1897 onwards, he developed and expanded rapidly to build up a network of European and overseas agents and subsidiaries. Two were opened: in Milan and Germany.
  • 1903 A subsidiary was opened in Paris
  • 1905 A subsidiary was opened in New York
  • 1908 A subsidiary was opened in London: The Hoffmann-La Roche Chemical Works Limited. The company occupied premises at 7 and 8 Idol Lane, near Billingsgate Fish Market
  • 1920 Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche died.
  • 1927 The company moved to larger premises in Bowes Road, Palmers Green, North London
  • 1937 The company's name was changed to Roche Products Limited, reflecting the modernisation of the business, which included developing a site in Welwyn Garden City over the next two years. This was conducted according to the plans of the celebrated Swiss architect, Otto R Salvisberg.
  • 1940 The world's largest vitamin B1 factory was opened by Roche Welwyn. This was in response to wartime conditions but it also reflected the company's expertise in synthetically derived vitamins
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Synthetic Vitamins for Food Enrichment, Food Preservation and Medicinal purposes. Also New Synthetic Drugs and Fine Chemicals. Working Models Illustrate Synthetic Vitamin Manufacture and Production of Tablets. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1191) [2]


See Also

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Sources of Information

Alexander L, Bieri, "Roche: A Swiss Pharmaceutical Company in the United Kingdom" in Business Archives Number 103 (November 2011)