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We all go shopping, albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and many of us have also worked in shops. It was the same for our ancestors, and although the records may not always be easy to find, they are out there if you know where to look. There is also a wealth of background material to show us what our ancestors' shopping and shopkeeping experience was like.
Roche was founded in 1896 as one of the very first industrial companies solely focused on the development and production of scientifically proven pharmaceuticals. After setting up a small factory in Basel, Switzerland, Fritz Hoffman-La Roche, the founder, immediately started a courageous global expansion process. The affiliate in the UK was set up in 1908. Together with Roche's operation in Nutley, New Jersey, USA, the British branch grew in importance after the First World War, and, as political tensions developed during the 1930s, became a major strategic asset for the company. This led to the opening of a stunning model factory at Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire in 1938. This lecture makes use of the extensive collection of documents and photographs on the history of Roche's activities in Britain, which is part of the Roche Historical Collection and Archive. Alexander L. Bieri studied information management and public relations before he started working in Roche Group Holdings. In 2000 he was appointed to the position of curator of the Roche Historical Collection and Archive. He has published many books and articles both on Roche-related and other themes. He also assumes responsibility for a variety of Roche in-house museums and has organised special exhibitions in Switzerland. In his capacity as a specialist for 20th century design, he is a member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Switzerland.