Papers of Oswald Allen

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 192 OSW
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 volume

Scope and Content

This collection consists of one volume - a handwritten autobiography of Oswald Allen's life.

Administrative / Biographical History

Oswald Allen was born at Scarhead Farm near Gayle in 1767, the oldest of ten children of the Reverend James Allen, a hymn writer, and his wife Margaret (nee Wilson).

Oswald went to Free School in Hawes, which was founded by his grandfather, also called Oswald Allen. At the age of 13, he became an apprentice to a relative, Dr Francis Whaley, a York apothecary. In 1799 Allen began to style himself Dr Oswald Allen following the establishment of his medical practice and his founding of the York Dispensary. He later wrote a history of the York Dispensary and was succeeded in the business by his cousin John Wilson.

Oswald Allen married Francis Withers, the sister of one of his dispensary colleagues. In 1820, a 'medicine pot' memorial was dedicated to Dr. Oswald and Francis Allen at St Lawrence's Church in York. In 1833 he began writing his memoirs, which were later donated to York Reference Library.

In 1841, a widowed Oswald retired to Hawes, England with his grandson, Dr. Oswald Allen Moore, a surgeon.

Access Information

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website (

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Laura Yeoman, Archives and Local History Public Services Manager, May 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names