It all started in 1921 when the company Die Futurum was established to produce medicines developed by doctors practicing anthroposophic medicine, so providing an extension to the conventional medicines available to them. The anthroposophic approach to medical care is holistic, aiming to treat the whole person and not just the illness or symptoms. The main aim of anthroposophic medicine is to stimulate the natural healing forces within the human being. It developed from the initial work of Dr Rudolph Steiner and Dr Ita Wegman, which explored how man’s soul and spiritual nature relates to the health and function of the physical body.
In 1924 the company name was changed to Weleda, with Weleda established in Britain soon after in 1925. Worldwide, the company now operates in 53 countries across five continents, and is the largest manufacturer of natural, ethical bodycare. For further information on other Weleda’s click here.
Weleda UK Ltd was opened in London in March 1925 as an importing company of natural medicines. The British Weleda Ltd grew steadily along with other Weleda companies in Europe, and in 1939 moved to Worcestershire where, due to the restrictions of importing goods during Wartime, it began manufacturing in its own right. By 1949 Weleda had opened a dispensary in London, and by 1957 its head quarters were relocated to East Grinstead in Sussex which was, and still is, a 'hot spot' for complementary medicine and other anthroposophic activities including Steiner Waldorf schools, biodynamic farms, Camphill homes and village communities, garden designers, architects and a huge variety of arts and crafts. Here Weleda thrived, and benefited from the increased interest in natural alternatives through the 1960s and 1970s in this country.
By the late 1970s Weleda's growth forced the company to relocate to larger premises, as planning permission to extend the East Grinstead site was refused. Weleda moved north to Ilkeston on 25 September 1978, where it continued to grow steadily in size, and by 1989 was obliged to expand its Derbyshire offices to accommodate more staff.
The 1990s witnessed several developments at the site to allow for increased productivity, improved quality control systems, new product development, and necessary modernisation including the building of the new tablet suite, which was opened in the summer of 1996. The improved larger-scale facilities incorporated a new medicating room, a refurbished filling room, and a new automatic cartoning room, to meet increased public demand for 200 OTC medicines in tablet form, including Weleda's top homoeopathic remedies.
In November 1996 after two years of inspections, the Weleda herb gardens at Shipley were awarded the Demeter standard - an internationally recognised certification trademark only given where produce has been grown to the highest organic standards using biodynamic methods. By 1997 Weleda had acquired a further 7 acres of organic pasture in order to grow more plants, and by spring 1998 further land was again purchased nearby. The company now grows 400 species of plants here.
Increased demand for Weleda's tailor-made medicines necessitated building a completely new dispensary, potentising room and separate packing and dispatch area, for urgent turnaround of orders. This specialist dispensary dispenses literally thousands (out of a potential 25,000) of homoeopathic, herbal and anthroposophic medicines and distributes them all over the country to hospitals, clinics, doctors, homoeopaths, herbalists, pharmacies, and members of the general public.