South Shields pharmacy which has been serving customers for more than 100 years reopens after six-figure revamp
It’s served South Tyneside for more than a century and helped the community through Covid.
Now one of South Shields’ oldest pharmacies is looking to the future after a six-figure revamp.
Darling’s was first opened in Chichester in 1909 by John ‘JM’ Darling, providing treatments for all manner of ailments.
Now, 110 years later, it is believed to be the longest-serving pharmacy in South Tyneside – and is still run by the founder’s descendants.
And chairman Paul Darling is looking to the future after a £100,000 renovation project saw the pharmacy doubling in size.
“We have invested heavily in the new facility, this enables us to develop even further our contribution to patient care in South Tyneside,” said Paul, who took over the running of the family business after the deaths of his parents Bill and Ann Darling, in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
“We have certainly been a lot busier due to Covid, especially with people needing their medication delivered straight their door.
“We offer a free, same-day delivery service, which has been so popular we have had to increase our delivery fleet of vans from two to five.
“Our aim is to always put our customers first and to make life easier for them.
“As my parents always used to say, 'we don’t aim to sell to people, we aim to serve them’, and that’s what we have successfully been doing for over 100 years.”
The official reopening of the Chichester branch in Stanhope Parade took place on Saturday, September 11, by Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay.
Among dignitaries at the event was Paul’s uncle, Dr Brian Darling, who first visited the site more than 80 years ago.
The Mayor said: "It was a real honour to share in this momentous occasion and to cut the ribbon declaring the opening of the renovated pharmacy at Chichester. It looks fantastic.
“Darling’s has played an instrumental role in keeping the residents of South Tyneside in good health for a century and continues to be a highly valued and trusted service in the local community.
"The experienced and dedicated pharmacy team has also been right on the frontline supporting local people and providing a vital lifeline for patients during the course of the pandemic.
“To reach this milestone anniversary is an incredible achievement. We wish the pharmacy all the best for many more years to come.”
Part of the new look includes a state-of-the art dispensary, plus more modern and spacious consultation rooms for customers to use.
However, many of the building’s original features such as a metal spiral staircase have been retained.
Paul said the Covid pandemic has seen more residents depending on the family business – which also has branches in Dean Road and Stanhope Road – more than ever before.
The businessman is hoping the new improvements will show the dedication his family’s business has to the borough.
“I am delighted so many people could attend our relaunch, and I am very grateful to the Mayor and to my late father’s brother Dr Darling, for offering their support,” he said.
For more information, or to sign up to the free prescription delivery service, visit www.darlingspharmacy.co.uk or call 0191 4554 551.