Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Victorian Chemist Shop


This photograph was taken in the late 1890's of the Chemist shop belonging to Wotton & Son, 76 High Street , Margate. A fine example of the Victorian chemist shop in its full glory with a multitude of coloured and oddly shaped bottles displayed in a shop front made up of small pains of glass. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the small chemist shop became the main suppliers of medicines to the nation. With the growth of Margate as a health resort the need for medicines and other associated articles became a lucrative business. To capitalise local chemists produced their own perfumes, toiletries, remedies and even mineral waters for the visitors to the town. The bottles used were often embossed, coloured and decorative. Poison bottles were designed along the theme of the Victorians fascination with death, they could be coffin shaped or even carry a skull and cross bones, but in general poison bottle were often coloured , fluted and sinister.
Whenever a local bottle dump is found chemist bottles always make up a large proportion of the find. They also make up the most value, especially if they are locally embossed or even carry extravagant cures.
The recent bottle "find" I had the pleasure of interpretting had many chemist bottles, some local but most were national brands. Part of the collection was sold off on behalf of the owner and the remainder are now on the shelves at Westbrook Antiques Canterbury Road Westbrook.

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