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Patent Medicines & Philanthropist (1800-1883)

Often described as the Richard Branson of the nineteenth century, Thomas Holloway was a Victorian entrepreneur who became a self-made millionaire from the sales of his patent ‘cure all’ medicines, pills and ointments. These claims often raised an eyebrow, and in reality were later found to have very few medicinal properties.

However, Holloway was one of the great philanthropists of the Victorian age, founding Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water, which opened in 1885, and Royal Holloway College in Egham, opened by Queen Victoria in 1886. Both epitomise the spirit of the age and widened access to what today are considered essential public services. Egham Museum tells his story.

Image ref: RHC PH/281/4/1 Archives, Royal Holloway University of London