Strachan & Co.

Strachan & Co.


In June 1891, the first commercial pharmacy, Lowenstein & Strachan was opened in Salisbury by Welshman, John Strachan. The initial fixed premises comprised a round pole and dagga hut in Pioneer Street.

John Strachan was a qualified chemist and druggist, and also was trained at a dental hospital where he performed tooth extractions. Leopold Lowenstein was in charge of the Johannesburg branch while the Salisbury business was run by Strachan. Owing to an incident which the drivers of Strachan’s supply wagon had with a lion on arrival in Salisbury, the chemist shop acquired the name Lion Dispensary. Towards the end of 1891 Strachan had a thatched hut built on the Causeway.

A ‘handsome’ chemist shop under the name of Strachan and Co was opened in Pioneer Street in December 1895 and later a more modern establishment was built in Baker Avenue in the area known as Causeway.

In 1902 Strachan sold out to Mr. James Dobie and Mr. George Drakes, who retained the name Strachan’s and Co.  By 1910 the firm had premises at Causeway, Kopje and a branch on Manica Road. The Kopje establishment was closed in 1914.

John Strachan died in 24th October, 1947 in Ardbennie, Salisbury of heart disease and prostate issues at the age of 82.

Special thanks to the Strachan family for kindly providing photographs from their family collection.


Although there is no publisher’s imprint on Series X, it is assumed to be published by Strachan & Co. due to similarities to the other series.


  • Geoff Brakspear
  • James Gavin