WTAO - inside pages

What the Apothecary Ordered

I’m delighted to announce that 10 August is the UK publication day for a pocket volume I compiled for Old House Books, an imprint of Shire Publications. What the Apothecary Ordered gathers together some...
The March of Intellect

History Carnival 132

It might be 1 April but there are no fools in the history blogosphere if the last month is anything to go by. I'm pleased to present History Carnival 132, showcasing some of the...

History Carnival – nominations please!

The Quack Doctor will be hosting the April edition of The History Carnival, a monthly showcase for the latest history blogging, and you are invited to nominate posts for inclusion. The Carnival is a...
Grimstone ad, 1840

Mr Grimstone and the Revitalised Mummy Pea

In a Highgate garden known as the Herbary grew plants destined to invigorate nostrils all over the world. Savory, rosemary and lavender scented the air, while orris-root thrived under the carefully cultivated soil. Dried,...

The Yankee Rubber Baby

ADvent Calendar Day 16 I've been studying Victorian advertising for about five years now and the products that bring astonishment and chuckles from others usually appear very bog-standard to me. This, however, remains the strangest...

The Quack Doctor Book

I've written a book! It is out now and I must embark on the excruciating task of self-promotion, about which I ought to have learnt something from the quacks by this time. Unfortunately I...

Wonder-workers and styptics

When your Magic Chicken is suffering from cholera, there's no need to panic. This bottle for the Magic Chicken Cholera Cure is one of around 195 medicine bottles in the collection of Michael Till,...

‘Come for the skin book, stay for the history!’ An interview with Dr Lindsey...

The image of the 18th-century anatomist is a shady one, redolent of midnight forays into graveyards and dissection in front of a rabble of students. The cadavers in these scenes are anonymous and devoid...

‘Set the spirit alight’: Victorian festive science

Ah, Christmas! A time for peace, goodwill, and setting fire to chemicals. I was intrigued the other day by Rupert Cole’s article at the Guardian about the crossover between the cultures of science and Christmas during...

Lazy salesmen and popular bachelors

The life of a travelling salesman in the early 20th century US might have involved stuffy railway carriages, soulless hotels and rejection by jaded druggists, but that doesn't mean there were no lighter moments. The reports of...