Has anyone seen the victorian pharmacy?

  WhiteTruckMan 11:29 24 Jul 2010

Its a series on bbc2 that I am quite taken with. Its another of these 'how we used to live' recreations, with the subject pretty much self explanatory, but this one in particular I find fascinating. The backroom recreations of the process involved in making tonic water and carbolic acid (from coal tar) for disinfectant use had me glued so to speak.

But for me the gem was the attempt to recreate a victorian 'cure all' medicine. Some original materials were definitely out - opiates and arsenic for example - but they threw together a concoction with ingredients to make you cough, bring up phlegm and clearing the lungs, as well as laxatives to open you up, so to speak. The mind boggles!


( and a link click here )

  Quickbeam 11:39 24 Jul 2010

Yes, it's my sort of programme.

  spuds 11:46 24 Jul 2010

Following the previous very good Victorian farming programmes, it was my intentions to watch this one, but alas it hasn't been the case. Even no repeats :O(

  gengiscant 11:54 24 Jul 2010

Whilst I enjoyed the previous Victorian farming program I have found this to be a little boring so haven't kept up with it.

  paddyjack 12:30 24 Jul 2010

People dont seem to realise that chemist made up a whole host of preparations in house until quiet recent times.

I remember in my youth grinding compounds with a pestle and mortar for the making of tablets, then putting the results into the molds to make the actual tablets. Mixing ingredients for ointments then stuffing that into tubes and crimping the ends. Also bottling various lotions and potions as well.

I still have my fathers book of formulas that covers everything from shampoo, to athletes foot, also from scoure to hoose a rural chemist so veterinary was covered as well.

I have shared the book with the local young chemist they were fascinated by it, also the local GP practice.

  Brumas 13:03 24 Jul 2010

Fascinating, even more so as we have been around Blists Hill we like to recognise the locations.

We have seen the Black Country Museum at Dudley and the granddaddy of them all, Beamish and never fail to find interest in anything connected.

I am pretty sure they could make a television mini-series using these locations and I for one wouldn't miss any episode.

  wiz-king 13:14 24 Jul 2010

Many of the GSL (general sales list) medicines sold in the shops have changed very little over many years, the quality control of the ingredients is better, leading to a more consistent product. A few ingredients are no longer allowed and restrictions put on the amounts of others, the main change in in the customer who wants a pretty packet of 'new improved' formulation he/she saw on TV last night rather than an anonymous bottle filled by the pharmacist. I work for a small pharmaceutical manufacture and we will make up a 60ml pot of cream for a customer if needed if one of our stock range of 20 or so will not do. We also make tablets, pills, powders, liniments and oils to order. It can be interesting to do but the lack of information on the internet means having to keep a lot of old books in the library!

  WhiteTruckMan 17:32 24 Jul 2010

that its a little slow in places. But others I have found captivating. I didnt know where it was filmed, so thanks to brumas for spotting that.

Spuds- if you follow my link you can watch it all on iplayer.

Fourm member- You're right. It cannot be totally authentic as I said because of some of the ingredients used being now banned. I'm not however laughing at the victorian attitudes etc, even though I am somewhat bemused. I did have a serious laugh at the laxative that also made you cough! (soap flakes to clear you out, and I think it was liquorice to make you cough).

But even what I thought would be simple things like making up those large glass containers of coloured liquids that I'm sure we are all familiar with turn out to be far more difficult than I thought, and serve more than a decorative function. And the pill making with the brass contraption turned out to be far less complicated than I thought as well.


  Forum Editor 17:45 24 Jul 2010

but like some others, I find it a little artificial. I get the distinct feeling that a good idea (a year on a Victorian farm, which was superb) is being milked for all it's worth.

I'm underwhelmed - too much larking about and pyrotechnics for the camera and not enough depth for my taste.

  sunnystaines 18:26 24 Jul 2010

not as good as Victorian farming

  Chris the Ancient 18:48 24 Jul 2010

The laxative is a good cure for a cough!

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