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Forum Home > Beliefs and other Oddities. > Doctors or Quacks ?

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Thre have ben many travelling men who have made claims to be able to " cure ", anything. These men went from Town to Town, plying their trade in the many Market places. I can just remember one such individual, who was an ever present feature, in Cradley Heath's market. Not a patch though, on some of the rather more colourful "Quacks", who operated in the 1860s, when medicine was not the same as it is today. One such man appeared  in Bilstons market, complete with covered wagon, and Indian ' scalps'. The locals soon dubbed him " Ode Texas ", due to partly to his appearance, ( Buffalo Bill style locks ) his strong American drawl, and his preference for ordering a shot of ' red eye ', in the Pub. He wore a long, and it has to be said, moth eaten old Bearskin coat, which he said he had shot with his last bullet, while on a perilous mission in the Rocky Mountains, collecting his life saving herbs.  Painted down the side of his wagon, was the imortal legend  " Doctor Catlin --- vendor of Secret Indian Cures for all Ailments ". All his remedies, he claimed, came from rare herbs, that he had risked life and limb to collect. How much of this anyone believed, is a pure guess, but given the fact that most of the population couldn't read, I'd venture a fair few. Pumping out his claims, surrounded by his scalps, indian artifacts, and wearing his trademark White Stetson, he pursueded his audience that his potions and pills would cure anything from gout, to  broken bones. Nathaniel Catlin, his given name, did not always have it all his own way, there were many rivals to contend with, not to mention the supposedly "real Doctors of Bilston ", who were non too happy with losing a lot of trade.


His main competitor, was a man who began his working life as an Iron worker. No one knows how he first started off in the "Quack" business, but he certainly found it an easier way of making money than the dirty job of a puddler. Richard Hill, styled himself as " Doctor Dick " , and together with his trusty Donkey, his Wagonette, Bugle and Drum, was unmissable as he arrived at the Market. His many miles of travel around the Black Country, had earned him a reputation for his wit, which he used to good effect. His most famous claim was that his pills could work off back rent, and cure wooden legs. His miraculous cures, would always get the audience laughing, in perticular, the one where he claimed to have taken off a mans leg, cured it, and then replaced it. all within an hour. He was of course talking about a wooden leg. He once told the crowd, that the nearest that " Ode Texas " had ever come to a redskin, was when eating a tomato. Which was probably truer than when he put the letters MD after his name. This was a step too far for the Medical proffession, and they had him prosecuted. Not even his well renowned wit could not save him from a heavy fine. Their rivalry continued for many years, until in the end, Nathaniel Catlin opened up a herbal shop in Bilston High Street. Still a crafty old man though, he also set up a sweet stall in the front, which of course drew all the children, and more importantly, all the parents as well.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 7, 2011 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

If people believed in their cures why not use them,I very much doubt many could afford proper M D's.

May 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now what men suffered from in the 1880s, is almost exactly what they fear most today. " A loss of Vitality and Vigour ". A quick visit to the local herbalist , druggist, or even a market stall, could soon put right this terrible afliction. " Thomasso's Perfect Cure ", claimed to be able to restore that lost manhood, and return the unfortunate to a perfectly healthly lifestyle. Two spoonfulls, every night before supper, and you could be up, and rearing to go in a few days. A really cheap cure as well, 1/-, 1/6p, and a jumbo bottle at just 2/-. Strange to relate, but the same stuff would, apparently, also cure women  of lost nerve power. No doubt of great benefit, after seeing the effects on the male of the species, rampant, and with steam coming out of their ears and nostrils. Should the female be in need of a stiff drink or two after such a sight, no need to worry, Thomasso's perfect cure would take care of any Liver and Kidney complaints that came along. Marstons Remedy, also aimed at the weaker man, ( there seemed to be a lot of them about in Victorian times ) went a stage further, and claimed to restore " exhausted vitality ". Obviously aimed at those who did not need restoring beforehand, but needed just that bit extra, before the next  " nervous " woman appeared. This cure was one of several, that required  to be administered by " local absorption ". Now who I wonder, had the honour of rubbing it in. For the young Teenager, who suffered then, as they do now, of pimples, spots, and blotches, there was the old favourite, Sulpholine Lotion.  Claiming to clear away the unsightly blemishes, leaving the skin perfectly clean, I hate to think what the concoction contained. I suppose though, at just 1/3p a bottle, and delivered in a plain wrapper, it was value for money. There were of course, offers of full money back refunds from most of the Quacks who sold this stuff. Fine except they very rarely answered letters, and were  long gone by the time your face returned to a more normal colour. The company that made " Ince's Quinine and Iron Tonic " was one such firm. Their product cured, it was claimed, " weariness, weakness, indigestion, and toothache, bringing much needed relief to the suffer. The customers would have been too doped up with heroin to complain anyway, so no refunds ever left their doors. Advertising was the thing with all these bottles of cure alls, and one bottle on a stall you wouldn't havemissed, was Chief Kehotah's Kidney and Liver Tea. It had a large illustration of the mighty Mississippi Valley Medicineman on the label. Sold to the public as a cure for discharges and derangements of the Urinary Organs, general debility ( that weakness in the male again ) lost memory, and Brights desease. Nothing stopped this powerful herb tea it seems, it could cure anything. The one I really like though, was " Dr Lalor's Phosphodyne Remedy ". It arrested, so the label said, the " premature decay of vital power, sleeplessness, restored the vital forces, and banished harassing dreams ". I wonder what kind of harrassing dream they had in mind, the brain fairly boggles. The best claim though, was to cure " Brain Wreakage ". Now if it really works, I know someone to whom I could send a bottle of the remedy, they seem to be in sore need of something. If only I could read the address on this faded label.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 1, 2011 at 3:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

When money was a bit tight, ( and there can't be many of the older ones amongst us whose parents were rolling in money,) most folk turned to the vast store of Homemade remedies available. It's a good job the National Health Service came along when it did, otherwise, some of us would have finished up in an early grave. An old time remedy for Coughs, was to eat some Goose fat. Now I know it makes for lovely roast Potatoes, but actually eat it in a raw condition, eeergh. It did though, have other uses, and one I bet you wouldn't dare use today. At the onset of Winter, take one child, and protect it from coughs and colds, by following the next set of instructions. Rub the child all over, with a good covering of Goose fat. Then apply a large piece of brown paper, ( Ironed, and saved from parcels ) to the whole of the childs back. Next, do the same on the front of said child. Now select some thick winter clothes, and dress your off-spring up as if you are expecting temperatures of -40 below. Then, and here's the best bit, sew up the selected clothes. Yes, sew, not button, but sew the little darling into his new suit. This leads me to ask the question of how on earth the normal functions will be dealt with. After a bit of thought, I think I know where the idea for that little flap, seen on early underpants, came from. It would have been desperatly needed as well, because the clothes were not usually taken off until the Spring. When someone says, that they had a deprived childhood, you might care to mention this. If you think that was bad, when Goose fat was not available, Wintergreen and other stuff was rubbed onto the Chest, of the poor unfortunate child, which was supposed to bring warmth and comfort. I much prefer Vick, to be honest. The poor mites sore throat, would be treated by wrapping a Silk stocking, or Scarfe, around it's neck. It might have saved some trouble later on, if one or two parents had tightly knotted it as well. It times of great hardship, a old sock could be used instead, with just the one condition. To work effectively, it had to have been unwashed for some time. I guess that would have cleared the odd blocked up nose pretty sharpish, not to mention giving the excuse of saving on the washing soap. I remember, when I was a kid, being told to go and pick a few Nettles from a field by the Canal. Tricky job this, and we wore a thick pair of wollen socks, rolled up to the elbows. Grandma used to chop them up and throw them into the Cabbage, which was bubbling away on the black leaded grate. Strange as it seems, this was quite good for us, helping with Anaemia, Indigestion, blood circulation, and retention of urine. I've got to the age now, when I believe I may have taken a little too much of the concoction when young. Judging by the number of times I have to get out of bed during the night, far too much. The next home remedy I have experienced first hand. Youngsters are prone to small lumps in funny places at times, they are called Boils. The old fashioned way, was to pour boiling water into a small bottle, wait until the bottle was hot, pour it out, then press the opening against the Boil. This would create a strong suction, the action of which would draw out the pus. I can't discribe just painful this process was. Needless to say, I only ever once told my mother I had a Boil. The next time I went to the Doctors.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The season for coughs and colds will soon be upon us again, and if you have a few spare moments, you might like to make up some mixtures. Just like our grandparents did. Many of the older ones among us, may remember carefully picking Blackcurrants, it took an awful lot to fill a bowl. About three pounds of them, ( if you came from a large family ) would be put into a saucepan with about a quarter of a pint of water, and put in the oven for several hours. The liquid would be strained off, and then have water added untill there was a gallon. Three pounds of brown sugar and a quarter of a pint of Vinegar made up the final mix, which would be quickly boiled, and when cooled, bottled. It tastes quite nice really, and was used for sore throats. Elderberries were used as well, although I remember the wine more than the cough mixture. Into the mix of four ponds of the fruit, went half an ounce of Cloves, half an ounce of dried Chillies, 8 Cinnamon Sticks,  and eight pints of water. This was put to simmer for about a hour, stirring the mixture and adding a pound of sugar for every pint. It was then boiled quickly until it thickened, and when cooled, was bottled with a cinnamon stick in each one. Anyone with a chesty cough, was given a tablespoon full, in a small glass of hot water. It's suprising just how close the end product is. to the taste of the modern stuff. It works as well, and of course, may work out a great deal cheaper too. Another little item that caught my eye, was something called Surfeit Water. This contained Cinnamon, Sugar, Cloves, and Aniseed. As well as making it, you could buy it from a Chemist, or even the local pub. It was supposed to be a great help when giving birth, although I suspect a few bottles of stout would have had the same result. Alternatively, making a tea from Raspberry Leaves, was supposed to relieve childbirth pains. I have been told, that most women prefer the modern methods of pain relief, shoot the husband.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

How well I remember the blackcurrent cough mixture, my job was to top and tail them.

August 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Time for a few real Doctors I think, so enter Doctor Thomas Dickenson, practitioner in the high street of Bilston. As well as dispensing all manner of pills and potions, the good Doctor was a bit of a practical joker. I wonder if he ever caused the death of one or two of his patients with the following litte trick. Rumour had it, that he had somehow aquired the skeletal remains of one Abel Hill, murderer of this Parish, who had been hanged in 1820. ( See Crime and Punishment ) In his surgery, he had a large cabinet which contained his collection of pills and potions, and, so it's said, the skeleton. When the door was opened, the last mortal remains of Abel Hill, suitable wired up, pointed his boney finger at whoever was sitting waiting for their medicine. They wouldn't have needed any for a case of constipation. Mostly though, this treatment would be used on any patient he concidered to be " swinging the lead ". A great pity such devices aren't availabe today, although I suspect it would wear out very quickly in some areas of the region. His brother, John Dickinson, was also a Doctor. He practised a short distance away in Bradley.  Unlike his brother, who was merely a bit eccentric, John was barking mad. His surgery was in Shropshire Row, but he was more likely to be found in The Lamb and Flag. A good guide was his faithful old horse, which would be tethered up out in the yard. Called to attend to a patient, he would first finish his drink, mount his trusty steed, and ride to the rescue. Prefering to stay in the saddle, and crying out " Look out, the Doctors coming ", both horse and rider would enter the house together. Not for nothing was he known as the mad Doctor. Things could only get worse, and they did. After going missing for two days, his wife found him in a canalside pub, and dragging him out proceeded to guide him home. " You are my duck, arn't you ", he said to her, and when she said yes, he replied, "then swim ", and promptly shoved her into the murky water. It took several policemen, fighting the crazy Doctor, who was armed with a mop, to subdue him, and take him away.  I bet they were grateful he wasn't riding his horse.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Throughout the ages, there have always been a few ruthless individuals who have attempted to exploit the less well informed. More so today, the prospect of depriving  some of the more gullible members of society, of their hard earned cash, is on the increase. Having, and paying for it in the process, needles shoved into rather sensitive parts of the body, is one thing. At least the more devient members of the population, do get to have a  little bit of pleasure from the pain. The idea though, that " cupping ", which leaves vivid red circular marks on the body, can draw out toxins, is only slightly less painful than the old fashioned treatment for boils. Fancy losing a few pounds, the quacks and cranks will have you believe that drinking certain types of tea, will get you thin. There are a great many women out in the world, who seem to think they have special powers of healing, either with the smell of " essential oils ", or by waving a few crystals across your body, to cure you of anything under the Sun. The latest quack remedy, does away with crystals altogether, and requires just the passing of hands over the paying " client ", and chanting a load of meaningless mumbo jumbo. Mind you, all this, which will only lose the gullible a few quid, is far safer than what was on offer early in the last century. Radium, discovered in 1898 by the Curies, was being touted a few years later as the cure for all sorts of ailments. Remember this though, Radiation, in the wrong doses, can, and will, kill you.


Now how about boosting your energy levels, simple solution in 1908, use Radium Bath Salts. Fed up with your grey hair, you could always buy a jar of hair cream, enriched of course with Radium. A small jar cost 4 shillings, and if you required to cover a large area, the next size up was just 7shillings and 6 pence. Whiter, cleaner Teeth, oh yes, they even put the stuff in Toothpaste. There was a Radium drink as well, just the tonic if you were feeling a bit under the weather, or how about a visit to a Radium Spa. Skin eruptions or Stomach troubles., no problem for the newly found wonder treatment. You could even buy underwear impregnated with the stuff, and wool that could be used to knit babies nice little booties. A hand cleanser, that was claimed to remove anything but your skin, ( rather them than me ) and they even made a fertilizer which contained the deadly stuff. You couldn't drive away from it in the 1920s/30s, they put it into Spark plugs and claimed it made your car go faster. ( The go-faster stripes came in later ) To be fair, although hundreds of companies had jumped on the band waggon, it would have taken a bit of over indulgence to really do some harm. Lots of people did get ill, and maybe a few died, but the biggest threat was from a product called Radithor. This treatment was aimed at the age old problem that men suffer from, ot think they do, Impotance.  The message on the packet said " To treat lassitude and Sexual impotence ", and some of the stuff was sold as a suppository. The higher content of Radium in this product caused a great many to become ill wth radiation illnesses, and in America, there were several deaths. Alternative medicines will always be with us, as will the army of quacks and cranks who think they can cure the whole world. ( and make a fortune at the same time ) Thank goodness we have the NHS, and enough regulations, to prevent the exploiters of the world, from poisoning us all. So next time you have a headache, don't let some frustrated, demented old woman, wave a crystal round your head, save £30 and take a couple of aspirins instead.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

It realy makes you wonder if they glowed in the dark.

November 24, 2011 at 1:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Maybe you are feeling a bit down since the festive season ended. Maybe you are still suffering the after effects of too much Turkey and stuffing. What you need is a little bit of detox, and way back in time, they had the very things to perk you up a bit.


Feeling Bilious, Sluggish Liver, Indigestion Pains, then try Frampton's Pill of Health. Just what the Pills contained, isn't quite clear, but they guaranteed to use only the finest herbs and other ingredients. Prices started at 1 shilling and a penny halfpenny a box, or if the problem was likily to persist, a giant box for just 11 shillings. You could also get from your friendly Chemist, Cockles Anti-Bilious Pills, all at the same price as Frampton's, and by way of a change, Smith's Tasteless Dandelion Pills.. These were, funnily enough, the same price as the other two, leading to the conclusion, that the same product was being marketed under different names. One other question springs to mind, if they didn't taste of Dandelion, how did you know they had any of the stuff in them in the first place. On with the detox then, and all the rage at the time, Halse's Scorbutic Drops. This substance was described as a Blood purifier, and cured Scurvy, Eruptions, Ulcers, and all conditions associated with Blood disorders. A must, it claimed, to restore both your health and, aimed at the Ladies, produce a truly beautiful complection. A small bottle would set you back 2 shillings and 9 pence, or an economy size at just 11 shillings. A slightly cheaper way of helping an overworked digestive system, was to take some of the stuff recommended for the young one's, Doctor Bridges Patent Food For Infants. It was stated to be both satisfying, soothing, and strenghtening, while also being digestable and nourishing for the infirm. ( I know, I've felt just like that after a heavy Christmas as well ) Available at all good Chemist and Herbal stores, 4d, 8d, 1s, or 2s.6d per tin. Sounds absolutely delicious. If all else failed though, you could always fall back on good old Holloways Ointment, which would cure sores, wounds, bad legs, varicose veins, and treat all the agonies of creeping infirmity. No need, the advert stated to suffer a misrable exsistance leading to an early grave, just buy a tin and rub it in. Only 1s 6d a time, to keep the Funeral Director away. After such a dire warning, it sounds like a good bargain to me.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

One complaint that reached epidemic proportions from the mid 17th century, the early so called cure for which, was taking a deadly poison, was the awful " Pox ". Or to give it a more common name, Veneral Disease, and in perticular, Gonorrhoea. Advertised in 1788, was a potion called Bennetts Specific Lotion, which proclaimed that one Bottle of the stuff was enough to cure the infection at least three times, in all it's stages and symtoms, and would prevent any further infection for up to 18 or 20 times. I wonder if they meant, exactly what I think they meant ? Suitable, the advert said, for both sexes, and effective even several days after " Impure Coition ",  ( look it up on google )  and even in the worst cases. ( the mind boggles ) It was guaranteed to contain not a trace of the deadly Murcury, which had been the standard cure or kill, ( the latter the more likely outcome ) for over 200 years, nor any preperation of the same, nor indeed, anything of a hurtful or deleterious nature. Bottles, at 8 shillings and 6 pence, could be purchased from the makers, Pearson and Rolleson, Birmingham, or from any good Bookseller, Printer, or Newspaper Office. I suspect, that even the primitive Chemists of the day had refused to sell it. I wonder why ?


A cheaper product was available for the less rich amongst the population, which would have been a very large market indeed. Well worth the price, concidering the alternative of having to go home and tell the wife the cause of that persistant itch. Called Doctor Smiths Specific Drops, it carried the same guarantee as the product above, could be bought at the same type of establishments, and cost just 2 shillings and 6 pence a Bottle. If you were to be planning a hectic weekend though, you could buy the jumbo Bottle for just 5 shillings. Needless to say, it was all made by the same company, and sold well, apparently, in Wolverhampton, Bilston, and Dudley. Like that advert made by Henry Cooper said, many years ago, " Go on, Splash it all over ".

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now not a lot of folk could afford the Doctors fee's, and at time resorted to the home remedy of kill or cure. Some of the recipes were lethal, and not a few, habit forming. Queen Victoria started a trend, after the death of beloved Albert, she began taking doses of Laudanum, which, for the unititiated, is actually Opium. She said it dulled the pain of grieving. I bet it did. I wonder if anyone mentioned to her, that to maintain a trimmer figure, and ward off a few diseases that flew about, ( Albert died from Typhoid Fever ) it would be better to eat all your greens raw, rather than boiling them to death. ( I well remember the smell of boiled Cabbage ) Now if that reminds you of an upset stomach as well, they also had a good cure for that. Take a pinch of Gunpowder, add some warm soapy water, and swallow it. If that makes you feel a little depressed, try the Laudanum. Shoes back then were not all that well made, and many of our ancesters suffered painful corns. Any quack would tell you, that this was caused by friction, and to lessen this friction, he would sell you a bottle of oil. In fact, anything with an oily subtance would do, like a nice bit of Mackeral, but who want's their feet smelling of old fish. Got a summer cold and runny nose, ( fat chance this year ) then what you need is a mouldy old sock. or a handfull of wet salt. A couple of good sniffs should soon cure the problem, but I prefer grandads method, a glass of Hot Whiskey. You may not have need of the next treatment, stings from Bees or Wasps this year, so you might like to save the tip. Pull out the Bee sting, take a well bashed stalk of Rhubarb, or some Ammonia, and apply it to the area. For wasps, first find someone smoking a pipe, then dig out the gunge from the bottom of the pipes bowl, and rub that into the sting. ( Tip, make sure the stuff isn't still on fire ) As well as all the patent stuff for preventing illness and generaly lifting the sagging spirits, you could always take a dose of the following. Murcury, Arsenic, Iron, or a spot of Phosphorus. You could, it was said, if you felt your heart was strong enough,take all this together if you were really feeling under the weather. Nothing like death and a wooden overcoat, for curing a few aches and pains. Mention of the weather, reminds me of this tip for the ladies, never stand around in the cold, wearing a light dress, it could be fatal they said. Not from what I've seen, in a few town centres on a Saturday night it isn't.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

It is no wonder that not many people lived to a ripe old age in those days is it?

July 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

A delve through a few Parish Registers, produces a picture of what a lot of our relatives died of. I should add, that not all of them actually list the cause of death, but where they do, it will open your eyes. As I have already said, many remedies contained deadly poison, and were given to young children as well. That would explain why there are so many infant deaths recorded as due to Teething problems. The preparation sometimes used, ( if you could afford it ) contained a mixture of Deadly Nightshade, with just a pinch of Arsenic. The state of the water of course, was another concern, so most folk drank only weak beer. Arsenic was sometimes added to the brew, to give it a bit more " body ", ensuring that the body it went into, would end up with an upset stomach. Or worse. There are a large number of deaths recorded, as Inflamation of the Bowels, which is one of the symptoms of poisoning. Just how many of these deaths, before tests were developed for detecting poison, were due to a natural cause, are debatable. All of the patent medicinces were of course useless against the epidemics that frequently struck the population of the Blackcountry. Between 1809, and 1811, Smallpox killed a great many infants, sometimes, wiping out whole families. The elderly were not immune either, suffering fevers, who, mostly being undernourished and weak, soon ended up in the Churchyard. Measles, a condition until recent times largely eradicated, was another deadly danger facing the young, spreading rapidly through the poor housing and unsanitary conditions of every town and village. There were many claims by the Quacks, that their pills or ointment could cure or prevent such attacks. The answer as to whether they worked or not, can be found in the burial records. Some folks of course, did manage very long lives, and where they did, it's ususally marked in the registers with a comment by the Vicar. ( Mainly attributed to a clean religious life )  There are several men in the records, who lived to be a100, and who never set foot in a Church, unless it had the word " Inn or Tavern " after it. Natural Decline is listed as the cause of death, for many of the more elderly residents. You do begin to wonder though, why the latter word would appear against the name of someone who had barely reached 30. It's a wonder they had the strength to produce children. Childbirth, even today, can be risky for some, but back in the 1820s, it was  potentially, the first step towards an early grave. No wonder Queen Victoria's choice was a painless solution, just in case it all went wrong.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Way back in the 1790s, pills and potions for all sorts of ailments were forever being hoisted on the long suffering public. At a time, when it was believed that the very air you breathed caused all manner of nasty things to happen to you, it was no surprise to find a cure on every street corner. Take this one for instance, Warren's Concentrated Lavender Vinegar. The company had strong competition from others making the same Aromatic Vinegar products, and felt constrained to warn the public, just how ineffective their competitors products were. Announcing a scientific discovery, ( adding Lavender ) and then proclaiming the smell to be the best at dispelling disagreeable odours, was a smart move. It was aimed at those who suffered ill health, and had to keep the windows open for long spells. ( I shouldn't need to remind anyone just what kind of rubbish was dumped in the streets ) It did, they claimed, purifiy the air, make your house smell better, ward off foreign infections, and was a fine product to dab behind the ears. ( or anywhere else for that matter ). The company also produced the much celebrated, " Milk of Roses ". Meanwhile, at the other end, so to speak, we have the impressively named " Cordial Balm of Gilead ". Sounds very much like a biblical mixture from the far east, doesn't it, but sadly no, it was made in Liverpool. Claimed to cure any number of ' nervous disorders ', and make the victim,sorry, patient, a happy person again. Among the symptoms it claimed to assist, weakness, debility, lowness of spirits, loss of appeptite, relaxation, ( I think that meant a case of monte-zuma's revenge ) indigestion, sickness, vomiting, gouty spagtus of the stomach, ( ?  ? ? )  hysterical hypochondrical affections, dimness of sight, ( perhaps the result of the former ) confused thoughts, and wandering of the mind. Take our Cordial Balm of Gilead, went the advert, and it will comfort your stomach and bowels, brace your solids, and tone up your whole nervous system. ( I just knew it was Monte-zuma's revenge again ) Doctor Solomon, obviously an old testement kind of Doctor, warned about imitations, and would sell you a bottle for 10 shillings and 6 pence, or a giant jumbo bottle for a mere 33 shillings ( duty paid ) The good Doctor, ever mindful of his patients health could also send you a leaflet containing advice, for a price of course, another 10 shillings and 6 pence. Thomas Taylor, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons no less, had apparently invented a wonder pill. These were called Leake's Patent Pills, and they came with an impressive recommendation. Someone wrote him a letter, ( probably self addressed ) and claimed a friend had an illness which was a secret, and was in a bad way, having lost most of his weight, and resembled a non-walking skeleton. After taking several boxes of the good surgeons pills, ( I'm surprised he had the strength ) he was now feeling much better, and had put on a lot of weight. ( Ah, they seem to have invented a fat pill ) It doesn't say, what other than " secret Illness's, " it could cure, but each box came with instructions for just 2 shillings and 9 pence a box. Now why didn't I think of that.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now when people began to travel, they discovered many marvellous wonders around the world. Spices from the east, Ivory carvings from China, Gold and precious stones from Africa, and several mystical cures for illness. One of which came from Egypt. Just why the people of that Country thought it was in anyway a cure, we shall probably never know, but the trade in Ground-up Mummies rapidly expanded. It was touted as a cure for Insomnia, Arthritis, and guaranteed to Lift and Invigorate the Spirit. Word spread that it was also a powerful Aphrodisiac, and it was taken much as you would take a pinch of snuff. It was mixed into all kinds of concoctions, which ensured that it sold like hot cakes. Pretty soon of course, the supply of ancient Mummies began to dry up, so to speak, and alternatives began to be used. Recently dead people, were hastily dried out in the hot desert sun, wrapped in tea stained bandages, and shipped off to the " Grinding Mills ". Much the same thing happened to all those Soldiers, who had fought and died in the Napoleonic Wars, whose bones were ground up as fertiliser. Their teeth being used to fill the mouths of those who could afford a new set of dentures. Body parts from the newly deceased, were also stolen from graves, roasted, ground up, and sold again as Mummy powder. Some of the softer body parts were rendered down into fat, and used as an ingedient in Ointments, just as they do today, only we use animals instead of humans. Quack medicine is still around today, as strong as it ever was in the past, and just as ineffective as its always been, only much more expensive to buy. Humans have always been a bit gullible, when it comes to a good sales pitch, thats why some many wild animals are today at risk of extinction. Now who wants a couple of jars of my famed Elephant Poo Beauty Cream.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now here are a few more " health " tips that have passed on to me recently. The first one deals with the common problem of a bleeding wound. There are two tips, one is to place a whole Spiders Web across the wound, although it not's certain if the Web should be fresh. The second, and rather more messy method, is to rub a quantity of Lamp Black into the wound. I'm not sure which will come first, bleeding to death or blood poisoning. Asthma, a common complaint today, what with all our central heating causing dry atmosphere's. Relief, so I am told by the old witch of the north, can be had by smoking Strong Tobacco, until you choke. Not recommended by the Medical Team, who you should have on standby if attempting this "cure". Another little tip appears to be that old favourite, Sucking Salt Water directly up your hooter. This will have a similar effect to the strong Tobacco, making you choke, and rendering you unable to reach medical assistance because there are so many tears in your eye's, you are effectively blind. The other more gentle approach, is to carefully roll up a few spiders webs, and swallow them. ( No, not the spiders as well ) Burns were a common hazard for our ancesters, and there are many ways to treat them, or so the older members of the Blackcountry believed. Take some Hot Coals, say the instructions, hammer them into powder, and then apply to the burn. A burn to cure a burn apparently. Mix some Castor Oil with Egg Whites, goes another remedy, then soak the mixture into a clean cloth, and wrap the burn with it. At first I thought this was the start of a recipe. Linseed Oil will, so I am told, take the sting out of the burn, as indeed will the scrapings of raw Potatoes. Now thats a very handy thing to know, if you have just peeled a few taters for lunch and caught your hand on a hot oven door. Still with burns, and this last one isn't so easy today, unless you work in an old fashioned Garage, plaster a load of Axle Grease on it. Now how many of you have woken up in the night, and found you have a bit of cramp in your feet. It's your own fault apparently, you should have turned your shoes upside down before you got into bed. We all suffer a few chest complaints at times, but you may not want to try this old fashioned remedy, it could stain your sheets forever. Heat up, ( in an old saucepan please ) a quantity of Mutton Tallow, ( fancy name for fat ) and apply directly to the chest. Make sure it's gone cool first, otherwise you will need to refer to the section on Burns. If you don't like the idea of applying something you go to Weight Watchers to lose, try this instead. To the now cool Tallow, add some Camphor, Terpentine, and Soot, and liberally spread over the chest. That should go down a wow with the other half, and guess who will be buying new sheets next week. Roasting a few Onions, and then beating them to pulp before wrapping them into a cloth, sounds like another fine idea. Don't blame me if you end up sleeping in the spare room after smearing it on the affected area. Finally, you could always soak an old flannel shirt in Terpentine and Lard and wear it all through the winter. Beware, starving birds love a bit of Lard, and you could end up searching for a load of spider's webs to stop the bleeding from all those sharp beaks. I will end this little item, with this final delve into old fashioned remedies, and which is a tip for curing Athlete's Foot. Wrap a piece of wool around one toe, and before putting your socks and shoes on, take a walk through some very fresh Cow Dung. Before going home, hang a pair of pot hooks around your neck, or, if pushed, a pair of picture hooks. This is the cure I'm told, for a bleeding nose, which you will certainly sustain trying to enter your home sweet home.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 2, 2013 at 3:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

A surefire cure for Bald Blokes.


From the annuls of yesteryear, springs an apparently infallable cure for the original " skinhead tribe ". Non other than the world famous cure from Dean and Coupelle, Hair Restorers to the Nobility, Bedford House, Russells Square, London.  You can't miss it fella's, it's labeled " Emilie Deans Crinilene ", and it's guaranteed to produce Whiskers, Moustachio's on the stiffest upper lip, and even your eyebrows, even if they have been singed away lighting your pipe. It's astonishing power works in just a few weeks, and will beautify your hair, prevent greyness, and stop that hair loss that clogs the plughole every morning. Age is no barrier to a healthy head of hair they claim, and at just 2 shillings a bottle, ( larger versions for bigger heads at 5 shillings ) why hesitate, order today. Postage is free, provided you enclose 24 x 1 penny stamps with your order. Mr C. Lyon writes from Baldslow in E. Sussex, " I now have the bushiest eyebrows in the whole County ".  Mr Ivor Thatch writes from Baldock in Hertfordshire, " I am delighted, I have always wanted a ponytail ". Miss Tickled Pink writes from Balderstone in Lancashire, " My fiance's Moustach has grown to an extrodinary size, and I am very satisfied now ". Don't delay, Order today.


Mind you, there were just as many mugs about in 1863, as there are now. Grow old gracefully lads, throw away the comb, buy a syrup of figs, and save yourself some money by not having a transplant. Or on the other hand, buy a hat.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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