Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 30 August 2009

A collection of Local Chemist bottles and pots


As mentioned previously over a thirty year period I must have acquired well over 1000 pharmaceutical bottles and pots, all coming from within the area of Thanet. A large percentage found by myself of which now the collection is down to a mere 20 items. Many of which were donated to local museums and local collections, plus some being casualties as a result of a divorce and ended up at the local bottle bank.
Pictured above is a ceramic pot found on Margate main sands after a storm, it is produced by Holloways of Oxford Street London and is a ointment to cure gout and rheumatism and as in the picture there are other extravagant claims as being an ointment for ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads and bad legs. Obviously discarded by a Victorian visitor who at the time was seeking the benefits of our seaside climate. I found a similar pot in the cave at Kingsgate, for readers unfamiliar with this cave, it is the second one on the left as you go down the wooden steps. It suffered two collapses one in 1977 and the other in 1998, each resulting in large quantities of Victorian items being found in the subsoil that fell through the cave when it collapsed. The pot I found was similar to the one pictured and was produced by Bead & Bendicott making extravagant claims like the pot above. I donated this pot to the Dickens House Museum many years ago. Out of this collapse I found many other chemist bottles which ended up in the Margate Museum. One bottle I did find that was of interest but I am not sure if I found it there or not, was a Victorian mineral water bearing the name "Edwin Bing Chemist" . Bing is a very well known mineral water company from Canterbury which closed in 1970, it actually started in 1878 after Edwin Bing successfully sold his homemade mineral waters from his chemist shop which opened in 1865 and later moved production to a purpose built building. It was not uncommon for Chemists to manufacture mineral water and sell it from their shops, another example being Silas Daniel, 30a Harbour Street Ramsgate who made and sold mineral water from his shop between 1887-1897.
It is the multiple finds that are the most interesting especially when all the items are from the same era. One place that comes to mind is Minster, there is a area over the railway crossing by the station to the left which is now overgrown. Thirty years ago the area was clearer and accessible resulting in many bottles of all shapes and sizes being found on the site, many were chemist bottles all from around the 1920's of which I donated to the Rural Life History Museum when it was open.
Once the the small pharmaceutical cabinet at the Margate Museum became a display item, people used to bring in items found in their houses. I can recall when somebody brought in a collection of chemist bottles found in a house belonging to a old lady that had died. Every bottle had a cork in it each had a label and still contained the contents, it may not sound much to get excited about but some of the bottles were from the early 1930's and the old lady still was using the contents in the late 1990's.

2 comments:

Richard Card said...

Be cautious in dismissing the claims made of yesteryear medicines.

Rain collected from a Church roof on Lammas day.

Blacksmith bosh water.

Ridiculous old superstitions until the emerging science (I think it is called ionic signatures) begins to wonder ......

My mother, Irish in Barnardos, was fostered in the 1920s and 30s by a Suffolk farming family.

One breakfast she gagged on her boiled egg. Foster mother had put something like castor oil in the yolk.

When she returned her foster mum told her "It has been aggs as make you ill mosta the time girl but you will be able to eat eggs without problems from now on cept if you ever mix them with that oil"

They had secretly done what is now called an elimination diet to trace the food making her unwell and had reprogrammed her to change allergic response ?

Richard Card said...

She ate eggs the rest of her life with no problem