Dr Ralph’s Pills

ADvent Calendar Day 2 Dr Ralph’s Pills and the ‘Ralphian Theory’ appear to have been inspired by the Hygeist principles of James Morison, who introduced Vegetable Universal Pills to Britain in 1825. Joseph Ralph’s system, like that of Morison, comprised two varieties of remedy – the Alterative Purgatives (No. 1) …

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The Continued Adventures of Baron Spolasco

In the last post, we left Baron Spolasco recovering from a traumatic two nights on a storm-battered rock after a shipwreck claimed the life of his eight-year old son. . After writing his Narrative of the Wreck of the Steamer Killarney, the Baron at last made it to Bristol, where …

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Baron Spolasco and the Wreck of the Killarney

On 19 January 1838, the steamer Killarney set sail from Cork, bound for Bristol. On board were 37 people and 600 pigs, and ahead of them was the most violent storm in more than half a century. The steamer was forced to turn back, and anchored at Cove for a …

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Henry Thompson's Real Cheltenham Salts

Although Henry Thompson claimed to manufacture the salts by evaporating spa water, The Monthly Gazette of Health for 1 Sept 1819 claimed that the product was nothing more than Glauber’s salt (sodium sulphate decahydrate). The Gazette had “been informed, by a gentleman residing in Cheltenham, who could prove the fact, that …

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Goss & Co.

According to a correspondent of the Monthly Gazette of Health (vol 5 1825), the proprietor of Goss & Co was a former shop assistant going by the unlikely name of Mr Crucifix. While Mr Crucifix insisted that his company had genuine surgical credentials, it had a terrible reputation among the medical …

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Grimstone's Eye Snuff

Grimstone’s Eye Snuff was widely advertised, purportedly at a cost of £5000 per year to its inventor. Testimonials were often included in the ads, and the product even inspired one satisfied customer to write a poem about it (Quoted in The Champion and Weekly Herald, 3 Feb 1839): . From …

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Carrington's Life Pills

Carrington’s Life Pills were made principally of capsicum, so they might well have cured your cold — if having your entire head blown off could be said to constitute a cure. The Reverend Caleb Carrington was Vicar of Berkeley from 1799 until his death in May 1837, and his eventful incumbency …

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