Derick Shaw (1925–2022)

On 3 June 2022, Derick Shaw, aged 96 years, of Wakefield, Yorkshire. Mr Shaw was a former member of the Society. 


Derick Shaw born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, on 16 October 1925 where he lived and worked for most of his life as a pharmacist. He passed away on 3 June 2022, aged 96 years.

On Derick’s birth date, Stanley Baldwin was prime minister and King George V on the throne. The famous Locarno agreement was signed on his birthday, which was intended to help peace in Europe by strengthening Germany’s eastern boarders.

Derick attended Thornes House School in Wakefield, where he made lifelong friends and gained his school certificate. 

It was by chance that he started what was to be his much loved career of pharmacy. His sister, Jean, informed him of an apprenticeship at Boots Pharmacy, for which he applied and was successful. 

World War II started, but Derick was unable to join the conventional army owing to decreased hearing as a result of a childhood ear infection. Instead, he took his turn in night watches based at the Yorkshire bank in Wakefield. It was during these watches that he learnt to play chess. After the night watch, he would attend work the next day.

He attended Leeds University, travelling from home in Wakefield, and passed his pharmacy exams before he was 21 years of age. He thus had to wait until his 21st birthday to be placed on the pharmaceutical register.

Derick worked for a short time in the Cambridge and Peterborough branches of Boots.

It was at a dance in Peterborough where he met his wife Sheila. They settled in Wakefield, where he worked for the Co-op, living initially in a flat above the shop. He moved on to manage a branch of Timothy Whites, which was later taken over by Boots. In later years, he had a range of experience enjoying locum work in the area.

He would deliver medicines to some patients after work and took his turn at being on call, often called out by the police in the night to dispense an urgent prescription.

In the early days of his profession, he described dispensing medicines with “the mixture” on the label, so the patient did not know the ingredient. He would make up pastes and medicines with a mortar and pestle, use a triangular pill counter to count the correct number of pills. Over the years, this changed to packets of pills and use of the computer to stock take and order medicines.

He was an active member of the then Leeds branch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and attended its national conferences. He loved his profession and finally retired at the age of 82 years.

Derick leaves behind two children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Elizabeth Shaw

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2022, Vol 309, No 7963;309(7963)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.148419

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