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Some would say travelling 200 miles to personally hand in your pre-reg application in to the GPhC is a bit extreme. My excuse is, I left it a little late to post it (mainly because of the 4 day weekend that involved the Queen’s birthday and Diamond Jubilee) and I was travelling to London anyway to see some friends. Nonetheless I arrived near London’s south bank in Lambeth North at the GPhC headquarters (which shares the same building as the RPS). On the face of it, a quite bland looking building for one of the world’s most prestigious and acclaimed pharmaceutical bodies. I was half expecting something a little more Gherkin, than a pint sized council tower block!
I’m being harsh of course but I’m sure if you saw it you’d feel the same. I think as a student you idealise the GPhC and it becomes this mystical entity until you get there and you can’t even get in! Yes that’s right these automatic doors set around a slightly cramped entrance you see in the picture above, wouldn’t open, so I followed someone round to a side entrance but these revolving doors wouldn’t work. I pushed quite hard and have to say I thought I almost broke it when the door jerked forward and I heard a click. At once I was greeted by an ominous female voice emanating from this mystical revolving door, “what do you want?” Those were the first words the GPhC ever said to me and I’ll never forget it! After I had spoken to the receptionist through the intercom and explained that I just wanted to hand my form in, I was allowed into the building and I had a look around their small but very interesting ‘museum’. Although, it was more a collection of glass cabinets dotted around the foyer area, than a museum. One particular pair of cabinets caught my eye; it was a model of the current building that was approved planning permission and a model of what they wanted the building to look like. Quite frankly at first glance I thought they were just copies of the same building and a piece had fallen off one of them! After about half an hour of browsing the exhibits (which included pharmacy through the ages and a special cabinet on smoking) a large group of foreign tourists entered the foyer through the, now operational, automatic doors at the front of the building. Feeling like I had somewhat outstayed my welcome I picked up various leaflets and made my way to the exit.
It was a fairly short visit and probably my last but the Lambeth area was quite nice with lots of character and history. Added to the glorious sunshine on the day, it was a nice day for a walk and in my bag of goodies I pulled out a leaflet with a map for a pharmacy walk which I would thoroughly recommend. It takes you through some historic sites in the area and there are some great upmarket hotel bar/restaurants with alfresco dining for lunch for those of you would prefer a pint on a veranda in the sun!