The history of Vocalzone Throat Pastilles starts with the birth of William Lloyd in Carmarthenshire in 1874 and is inextricably linked with the career of his great friend Enrico Caruso.
William Lloyd was the fifth of six children born to Thomas and Elizabeth Lloyd at the Mansell Arms in Carmarthen. He was educated at the University College of Wales and the London Hospital. He qualified LSA in 1898 and took the Scottish triple a year later. He worked as a house surgeon at the Throat Hospital and senior clinical assistant at the Ear Nose and Throat department of the London Hospital.
Later he was on the staff at the Fulham Hospital and it was here that he built his reputation and large practice amongst operatic, stage, and music hall artists. He was on call at Covent Garden and it was in this capacity that he met Enrico Caruso when he was suffering a throat complaint. William created his throat remedy for the Great Caruso little realizing the affect this would have on his life. Caruso was so impressed with the results that he retained William Lloyd as his physician, and travelling companion whenever he was embarking on challenging tour. He attended signor Caruso for 15 years, becoming a great friend, until his tragic death in 1921.
Williams’s brother Walter Lloyd was a qualified as a chemist and together they set up “The Vocalzone Factory” at his shop just around the corner from their birthplace in Carmarthen. Walter Lloyd and Son have been trading from this address continuously from 1850 to the present day. It was from this address that Vocalzone Throat Pastilles was built into a national brand and it was marketed as “The Throat Pastille Created for just one man The Great Caruso”.
William Lloyd published a number of articles and his best known work was book on Hay fever and Hay asthma that went into its third edition in 1931. Mr. Lloyd was kind by nature, an individualist, forceful and a very hard worker. He was described as living a tumultuous life and as having a healthy disrespect for authority. This was demonstrated by the fact that he sat and passed the F.R.C.S and then refused to register it as he objected to paying the required fee – on principal.
In 1925 he was struck off the register for on a charge of indirect advertising. This followed the appearance in the Daily Mail of an article by a patient who was also a journalist. William Lloyd was not mentioned by name and the action by the GMC was questioned in parliament. His friend and patient David Lloyd George, who also happened to be the Prime Minister at the time, questioned the process and lack of procedural fairness in his treatment. Questions were asked in the House and the GMC referring to as “a jumped up trade union that needed to be brought to heel”. Unsurprisingly his name was restored to the register shortly afterwards.
He was an enthusiastic Welshman, setting up a scholarship at his old school in Carmarthen by endowing it with two scholarships’ of £50 each to be competed for by Welsh speaking boys. He also presented the school with a set of original photographs taken by Herbert Ponting on Captains Scotts Antarctic expedition.
William Lloyd was a keen sportsman and played rugby for The London Hospital and reserve for Wales as well as being a member of the National Sporting Club for over 40 years. During the First World War he also arranged a matinee at the Alhambra Theatre (now the Odeon Leicester square) raising £8,000 for London Welsh troops.
William Lloyd passed away at Harrow on the Hill, where he had moved to after his house in Brook St Grosvenor square was destroyed in the Blitz, aged 73 on 11th June 1948 having lived what can only be described as an interesting and dynamic life.
Although he traveled the world and over and was great lover of nature he said that he was never happier than when talking about his native Wales.
Following his death Vocalzone Throat Pastilles was passed onto his family. As he did not have any children the company was split between his wife, nieces and nephews. They sold the company to an American firm who ran it until the 1990’s. By this time production has been switched to Ernest Jackson in Crediton where it is still manufactured to the same formula created for the Great Caruso, and has been continuously marketed in the United Kingdom for over 100 years.
In the 1990’s it was purchased for a company called Kestrel Healthcare by its Managing Director Mr. Ian Ponsford. In 2001 Ian decided to set up his own company and purchased Vocalzone Throat Pastilles where it remains in the family business to this day.