The Allinson Papers

Scope and Content

The collection of Allinson Papers consists of a mixed box of small printed items and pamphlets, posters, photographs, and bundles of newspaper and magazine cuttings; a number of scrapbook albums containing mainly newspaper cuttings relating to Allinson, and dating variously from 1881 to 1918; and, folders containing scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings, handbills, and lecture posters from the 1880s to 1918.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Richard Allinson held particular views on how best to restore the sick back to health again. He advocated hydrotherapy, abstention from tobacco and alcohol, fresh air, no drugs or vaccination, and a healthy vegetarian and wholemeal diet. Allinson was born 29 March 1858 in Hulme, Manchester. He went to school in Lancaster and Manchester. In 1874 he was a medical student in Edinburgh, at the Royal College of Surgeons. While in Edinburgh, he is said to have won a medal in practical chemistry, and a special prize in public health, and to have taken a double qualification as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians, LRCSP. After studying in Edinburgh he assisted in a general practice in Hull, followed by a visit to Paris. Around this time he became interested in hydrotherapy - the use of water in the treatment of illnesses. He was next to be found assisting in a general practice in Shoreditch where he acted as police surgeon and parish doctor. While in Shoreditch, Allinson developed an opposition to stimulants such as alcohol and tobacco, advocating abstention from alcohol consumption. Vegetarianism became an interest of his too, and he joined the Food Reform Society. In 1887, he wrote an article strongly opposed to drugs which he said were poisons, and to vaccination which he said was dangerous. Instead, he advocated a healthy diet and exercise. He was of course attacked by other doctors and, after lengthy public and professional debate over his arguments, Edinburgh's Royal College of Surgeons struck him off the roll. Undaunted, he continued to use the letters Ex-LRCP.Ed after his name. In 1890, Allinson opened the Hygienic Hospital in Willesden where patients were treated according to his principles of hygienic medicine. He wrote widely on the advantages of wholemeal bread and wholemeal and vegetarian cookery, and in 1892 he purchased a stone grinding flour mill in London's Bethnal Green. This was established as the Natural Food Company Ltd., 305 Cambridge Road, London. Allinson died in 1918 but after his death the demand for wholemeal bread continued to rise and two more mills were acquired in Newport, Monmouthshire, and Castleford, Yorkshire. Today, Allinson traditional flour is part of the product range of Allied Mills Ltd. The material known as the Allinson Papers was presented to in June 1987 by Booker Health Foods, one of the trade names of which, at that time, was Allinson. In the 1980s, the parent company of Booker Health Foods Ltd. was Booker McConnell plc, later Booker plc.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H39