The Story of Baldwins and Herbal Remedies

The Roots is an an exciting Heritage Lottery funded project about the story of Walworth Road-based shop, G. Baldwin and Co., one of the oldest and most established herbalists in London.  We are funded to work with older people, Art in the Park and young people from Walworth Academy, and Southwark Local History Library to record the history of the shop, the memories of its customers and traditional uses of herbal remedies.

SPC would love to get as many local people of all ages involved in the project, so you don’t have to be a pensioner.

I am getting involved in this because I am interested in herbal remedies and the medicinal properties of plants. Baldwin’s has been there for so long. In the early 80s, I used to travel down from Crystal palace to get sarsaparilla and remedies from there. I’m looking forward to interviewing people. Keep me posted!

– Local resident Tony Taitte

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in:

  • Talks and workshops on The History of Baldwins and the history of Walworth and the Elephant and Castle; The History of herbal remedies; Sarsaparilla Tasting; Sessions on making creams and bath-bombs
  • A trip to Chelsea Physic Garden
  • Learning how to interview and record friends, families and neighbours
  • Painting workshops at Art in the Park
  • Herb gardening talks and workshops in Chumleigh Gardens
  • Telling us your sarsaparilla stories
  • Telling us about the herbal remedies you use at home

Contact Julia Honess on 07960318055 for more information or check out our blog at

Please enjoy some photos of the participants.




G.Baldwin & Co

G. Baldwin & Co, known to locals simply as ‘Baldwins’, was founded by George Baldwin in 1844. The shop was originally based at 77 Walworth Road.  Over the next fifty years, the business thrived. At its peak, there were twelve shops around the London area.

When George Baldwin died at the turn of the century, his son (also called George) took over the business. Young George was an engineer and had no great interest in the business so, as the various managers left or passed away, the shops closed down.

At the end of the First World War, Henry Dagnell joined Baldwins as a member of staff. His role was to restore the then failing business, and one of his tasks was to collect all unsold stock from the various shops as they closed. Using a hand-barrow, he delivered the unsold stock back to 77 Walworth Road. By 1925, only the original shop remained, now under the ownership of Mr Parkin. By now, Henry Dagnell had worked his way up to the position of manager. After Mr Parkin’s death in 1951, Henry Dagnell purchased the company and was joined by his son Henry Dagnell Junior.

In 1969, Baldwins relocated to 173 Walworth Road where they are still based today, adding 171 to their premises in 1978. Soon after, Mr Dagnell was joined by his son, who took over the business in 1993 when his father retired.