Our history

1981 photo of the exterior of John Castle's Chemist

The Chemist

In 1888 John Castle opened his own chemist after working for Mr Richard Ayres (one of the first apothecaries and botanic chemists in the capital), and passing his final pharmacy examinations.

John and his brothers, Fred and George, became chemists and subsequently five of John’s seven children also became chemists, several of which opened chemist stores around Wellington. Eventually there were five pharmacies in the Castle group.

Between 19201950 Mona Castle kept scales at the chemist for weighing local Newtown babies.

Ray and Santi Bhikha owned and operated the pharmacy from 1979 to 2013. In 2013 they sold the pharmacy to Shahlaa Al Salih. Ray and Santi continue to play important roles in running the pharmacy today.

When you visit the shop, you will notice we have retained the Victorian interiors. We invite you to step into the pharmacy to experience the warm ambience and décor.