Sir James Murray

Inventor of Milk of Magnesia
1788 to 1871

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Murray was Born at Culnady, Co Londonderry. Educated in Edinburgh, at the age of nineteen he was appointed apothecary at Belfast’s Dispensary and Fever Hospital (later the Royal) but left after a year to set up on his own as surgeon and apothecary in High Street, Belfast. In 1829 he used a fluid magnesia preparation of his own design to treat the lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Marquis of Anglesey. This was so successful that he was appointed resident physician to Anglesey and two subsequent Lords Lieutenants, and knighted. He also became Inspector of Anatomy in the Dublin College of Surgeons and published pioneering works on matters varying from chemical fertilizers to the effects of climatic conditions on health, by way of electricity as a cause of epidemics. He died in Dublin in 1871.

Murray’s name is perpetuated in Murray Street, off Fisherwick Place, Belfast, which he helped to develop. But he lasting claim to fame is his fluid magnesia product, which was patented two years after his death and sold worldwide under the name of Milk Of Magnesia.

Location of plaque: 16 High Street, Belfast (corner of High Street/Bridge Street)

Date Unveiled: 24 February 2005

Report of Plaque unveiling available HERE.