A question we’re often asked is, “Why the name Bucklebury?”
Gather round as we tell you the legend of a little street in London from long ago…
By the early 1600s, London, England was alive with apothecaries. For those of you who might not know, an apothecary is a place where wine, spices, and herbs are stored. During the thirteenth century, an apothecary also came to mean a person who kept stock of these commodities, and sold them from a store front, as a street vendor, or one who prepared and sold drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes. In sixteenth century London, apothecaries had become the equivalent of today’s community pharmacists, dealing mainly with the preparation and sale of substances. And at this time, there was one cobble stoned street in particular where nearly every shop housed an apothecary, chemist, or grocer. This particular apothecary row quickly became renowned across much of England, with visitors coming from across the country and beyond in hopes of finding a cure for their ailments. What was the name of this famous street, you might ask? Bucklersbury.
Walking up and down Bucklersbury Street in its hay day would have been an unforgettable experience. You would have had your senses bombarded with a multitude of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. You would have heard various barkers calling out their wares and cure-alls, whilst inviting you into his or her establishment. You would have seen the most outlandish ornaments hanging from shop windows, such as: stuffed sharks and alligators, signs boasting the latest patent medicines, and exotic ingredients. There would be multiple opportunities to sample different herbal remedies and foods and the air was forever heavy with the smells of intoxicating spices, herbs, and confections.
One of the highlights was being able to see the different apothecary coat of arms in nearly every store front. The apothecary coat of arms is a legend in and of itself with Apollo (the god of healing) killing the dragon of disease, supported by two unicorns (from King James’s royal arms), and a rhinoceros as the crest (the powdered horn was believed to be medicinal). In the spirit of the apothecary coat of arms tradition, we even came up with our own.
Yes, spending time on Bucklersbury street in that day was more than just an outing, it was an event.
Even William Shakespeare, who lived during this time gives Bucklersbury, and its apothecaries acclaim in his play, ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,’ when the character Falstaff said to Mistress Ford,
What made me love thee? Let that persuade thee there’s something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog and say thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn-buds, that come like women in men’s apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it. ”
Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 3 1602
Shortly after creating one of our very first batches of “Old Number Four” (original name of our Soothing Syrup), we stumbled upon the history of Bucklersbury Street as a source of help to friends and neighbors in that day. This notion resonated with us and we followed suit. In the spirit of Bucklesrbury Street, we dropped the “r” and the “s” and decided on the name ‘Bucklebury’ to pay homage to the famed apothecary street and what it stood for. Also, Jim thought it was a really cool name!