James Osborne

James Osborne's fortune was founded on his "Mixture for Epilepsy", which was exported from No 24 all around the world.

Osborne's "Mixture" was claimed to improve general health as well as curing epilepsy, but this was said before trades description legislation was introduced.

The Osborne family, and especially James Osborne exerted considerable influence in the Town, both financially and socially, in the late 19th and early 20th Century.  James was Chair of the Urban District Council, a governor of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and he sat on many committees for finance, building and waterworks in the Town.

The family fortune was founded on James Osborne’s Mixture for Epilepsy, which was exported from No 24 all around the world.  About 1875, James Osborne improved an existing “cure” for epilepsy and advertised his new product as “the best remedy ever discovered for this distressing malady” Osborne claimed that “large numbers have been permanently cured”.  At a time when such claims did not have to be proved, his product was highly successful and, when he died in 1926, he left an estate valued at £20,264 – a considerable sum in those days.  However, the effectiveness of his “remedy” may have been challenged by that date as his will contained a clause stating “any purchaser of his business must give an undertaking not to advertise or recommend the preparation either directly or indirectly as a cure for epilepsy or any allied disorder.”

Behind the modern brick and glass shop front is one of 2 cruck-frame buildings in Ashbourne. This one was built in 1526. It was bought by a druggist (Victorian pharmacist) in 1856 and is now a popular health food shop and therapy centre.

Find out More