Wellcome Trust

From Academic Kids

Missing image
New Wellcome Trust building on Euston Road

The Wellcome Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity established in 1936 to disburse the fortune of the pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome and the income of Burroughs Wellcome & Co. It is commonly referred to as the world's richest medical charity, with funds of £9,000 million as of 2003. The mission of the Trust is "to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health." As well as funding biomedical research, it supports the public understanding of science.

In 1986 in an effort to diversify the trust sold 25% of Burroughs Wellcome to the public, beginning a gradual process of separating itself from the business. In 1995 Burroughs Wellcome merged with Glaxo to form Glaxo Wellcome, which then in 2000 merged with SmithKline Beecham to form GlaxoSmithKline.



The Wellcome Trust invests more than £400 million per annum in biomedical research. Most of this goes to support research that adds to our understanding of health and disease but has no immediate application. Medical benefits may emerge years later. Many major successes have been achieved through Wellcome Trust funding, including:

The Trust's headquarters are on Euston Road in London. The original building built in 1932 in Portland stone has an impressive interior. Next door is the new building by Michael Hopkins, opened in 2004.

The Wellcome Trust has established the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in the US.

Libraries and public facilities

In 2007 the old building will reopen after refurbishment as a public venue called 183 Euston Road. This is intended to provide comprehensive resources to enhance public understanding of current thinking in medical science, as well as the history of medicine. The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine will be housed on the upper two floors.

The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine has very large collections of books, manuscripts, pictures and films concerning the meaning and history of medicine. It is one of the world's foremost collections on these subjects and is open to the public without charge. Two other collections associated with The Wellcome Library are the Medical Photographic Library and the Medical Film and Audio Collections. These collections are currently housed in temporary premises on the other side of Euston Road, but will move into 183 Euston Road when it reopens.

183 Euston Road will also contain gallery spaces, conference facilities, space for debates, drama and workshops, a café and a bookshop. The Wellcome Trust stages a programme of temporary exhibitions both at its own premises and at the Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum.

See also

The Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology is located at the Royal College of Surgeons.


Hall, A.R. & Bembridge, B.A. Physic and philanthropy: a history of the Wellcome Trust 1936-1986. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-521-32639-7

External links


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