I will be speaking at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol on 27 February 2014 as part of their ‘Matters of Life and Death’ programme sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. Tickets are £5 via the Cemetery’s website, and you can find the full list of talks here.

Do Not Untimely Die!

Do not untimely die!
Promoting patent remedies in Victorian Britain

Electric corsets, arsenic soap and cocaine-based tonics were all available to the Victorian consumer.  Discover the colourful world of nineteenth-century health advertising and the techniques promoters used to appeal to the public.

From opium-laced children’s syrups to horse-action exercise machines, Victorian newspapers offered a plethora of products promising miracle cures for disease and discomfort.  Many are now considered dangerous, fraudulent or just plain funny.  They were, however, a significant part of the nineteenth-century medical marketplace and their use was not confined to that anonymous portion of the population often dismissed as ‘the gullible’.  Showing images of Victorian advertisements, pamphlets and products, this talk explores the sophisticated methods medicine vendors used to attract and retain customers.

Anglican Chapel, Arnos Vale Cemetery, 27 February 2014, 7.30pm



Image: Manson’s Shetland Almanac and Directory for 1892, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.


Leave a Reply