How to stay free from colds (1936)

Medley flier 001In this season of coughs and colds here is some advice ( published in Medley) from a scientist writing in Health and Strength.

Are colds infectious? No? It has been proved that the whole crowd of microbes and germs commonly associated with red noses, rheumy eyes and sneezes are just as alive and active in a healthy nose as in a runny one, but there is no cold.

So the next time your neighbour in the bus starts atishooing, there’s no real need to turn the other way. You must breathe through your nose. Our nasal organs are so constructed that, although cold bacilli may play on their doorstop all day long, they cannot get into the body.

A cold doesn’t get a look in when out body is fit, and our blood circulating well. It is only when what the doctors call our basal metabolism—the fire of life—gets below par that the germs can get busy.

Four things help us more than anything else to be cold free—warm feet, breathing through the nose, one or two hours spent every day in the open air, whatever the weather, and orange juice.’ Bamford Stanley, D.Sc in Health and Strength.

Don’t take this theory of the common cold too seriously, as the good doctor seems to believe that colds are caused by bacteria ( bacilli). Of course, we now know that they are the result of a virus, as anyone knows who has ever been refused antibiotics for the sniffles. [RR]

One foot in the grave at 44 !

12796501More heart-warming advice from Real Life Problems and their Solution (1938) by the cheery R Edynbry.

‘I am just forty-four years and beginning to feel that real middle age is just around the corner. I don’t mix much with other men and never talk over my symptoms with anybody. But I often speculate as to what may be in store for me in the way of health and sickness. I should be glad if you would tell me some general symptoms of middle age so that should experience them in the coming years I should not be taken by surprise.’

Changes take place so slowly in middle age that it is often difficult to compare conditions from one year to another. The trend of physical life is now downwards, however, gradually, and whether it will be hurried or delayed depends upon the constitution and manner of living. As a rule it becomes more difficult now to plan and carry out personal schemes, the success of which depends upon quick movement and energy. The healthy flush of youth shown in the complexion, gives place to a certain pallor, except when blood pressure gives a florid appearance. Greyness and some degree of baldness begin to show. There may be a bagginess under the eyes and wrinkles at the outer corners. Hearing may not be so keen as formerly and glasses are generally necessarily for reading small print.

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of middle age is the layer of abdominal fat and the general sagging of the body. Unless increasing care is paid to the diet, dyspepsia may give trouble, and various forms of nervous irritability draw attention to the fact that something is wrong. Worry about the physical or economic situation often causes insomnia at this time. The sex life needs careful regulation and all emotional strain should be avoided as far as possible. The sensible man—who should be his own doctor to some extent in middle age—should know that one of the secrets of health and happiness at this period lies in the simplification of one’s needs and demands. Less food and plainer food; less worry because of fewer ambitions and desires; less responsibility because nothing is undertaken without reasonable hope of accomplishment. [RR]

 

A War Cookery Book

Found – a publisher’s advertisement (T. Werner Laurie) for a book of cookery recipes for war zones. It was in D’Auvergne’s ABC Guide to the Great War (1914). The book itself is rare but a copy can be found at the invaluable archive.org. Its full title is: A War Cookery Book IMG_0007 for the Sick and Wounded : compiled from the cookery books by Mrs. Edwards, Miss May Little, etc., etc. (by Jessie M. Laurie.) It was aimed at ‘every nurse, whether Volunteer or Professional’ and has easy to prepare dishes for ‘Invalid and Convalescent Patients.’ Here is a selection of  egg dishes. Obviously alcohol was considered useful and it is assumed that herbs can be fairly easily procured (parsley and thyme).

BREAD AND MILK.-Take a thick slice of fairly
stale bread. Cut it into tiny squares, and after having
cut away the crusts put it into an enamel saucepan
with about 1 pint of milk; boil up very slowly. Sugar
or salt to taste.

EGGS BAKED IN TOMATOES.-Choose rather large
tomatoes of equal size, cut a piece off the top of the
tomatoes, scoop out the pulp carefully, sprinkle on a
little salt and pepper, break an egg into a cup and pour
it into the hollow of the tomato, place on a greased
baking tin and cook slowly until the egg is set, basting
with a little butter. Continue reading

A warning for all collectors of manuscripts

Boerhaave picA snippet featured in the miscellany Medley dated October 1936 comes from ‘Ripley’ in the Sunday Express. It concerns the famous Dutch physician Dr Herman Boerhaave (1668 – 1738), ‘founder of clinical teaching’ and called by some ‘The father of physiology’:

“When he died his effects were sold by auction, and among his manuscripts was a sealed book for which there was a heated scramble. It was sold for £2,000 in gold, and when opened was found to contain all blank pages except one on which the doctor had written:

 “Keep your head cold —your feet warm, and you’ll make the best doctor poor “

I wonder if there are similar instances of bibliomaniacs fighting at auction for a particular sealed manuscript or printed book with annotations by an eminent, and perhaps controversial, person. Information welcome.

[R.M.Healey]

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Potash for Relief

Here is a short note from the Conservative politician and former soldier Sir Henry Edwards (1812- 86) to his physician, which was found among some autographed letters.

5, (street name illegible)
28th Aug.

Dear Dr Deetz

I now send you as you wish part of the water I have made during the night & will call if agreeable to you about 10 o’clock this morning. I regret to say the pain I suffer, particularly after dinner, in walking home, even an hour after dinner, seems to me to increase & I suffer dreadfully. I have found relief from Potash & (illegible) on reaching home from dinner, but without that I don’t know how I could bear the pain—it is so excruciating. I will call on you before 10 o’clock, if convenient, at your house, or perhaps you would prefer to see me here.
Yours mostly truly, Henry Edwards
Deetz Esq, MD.

As a former soldier, Edwards was doubtless used to speaking plainly and indeed suffering pain, but to those familiar with examples of Victorian decorum on such matters, this short letter to his doctor may surprise us today. Did he pee into an old jam jar or beer bottle and ask his servant to deliver it to the physician along with the explanatory note? Perhaps his servant was used to such unusual errands and didn’t turn a hair. Obviously, we don’t know what was wrong with Edwards, but if he had suffered from similar symptoms before and suspected kidney stones, a confirmation from his doctor that stones were present in his urine would explain the errand and proposed visit. As someone who has suffered four separate bouts of kidney stones over a eight year period, I can personally testify to the agony they cause. However, the fact that the pain came on after dinner would suggest gallstones to me.

Edwards’ use of Potash for relief is interesting. Potash was the common name for potassium carbonate in Victorian times, but according to Robert Hooper’s The Physician’s Vade-Mecum (1823), potassium tartrate was the specific for gallstones. [R.M.Healey]

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Disability ! What disability ? The Amazing Constance Smedley

In her sixty six years Constance Smedley (1875 - 1941) managed to pack more into her life than most centenarians would do. Despite being on crutches from her early years and confined from her thirties to a wheelchair (due to some unidentified disability, possibly a hip problem) this Birmingham-born fireball, who married the gay artist Maxwell Armfield, was at various times a crusading feminist, suffragist  and journalist, an artist,  novelist, playwright, organiser of pageants and folk dances, and perhaps most notably, the founder of the world’s first arts and science club devoted entirely to women.
It is on the notepaper of the London-based Lyceum Club, which the twenty-eight  year old Smedley helped to found in 1903, that this featured letter (below) also shows her to be a tireless encourager of talent among women—especially budding musicians and actresses. Here she writes to an actress and fellow feminist Annie Schletter, inviting her to a ‘ semi dress rehearsal ‘where she will witness the enormous promise of a twenty three year old thespian called Gwenol Satow:

‘…I feel Miss Satow has great gifts, but they are entirely undeveloped: her intelligence is far before her technique---& she needs the discipline of training . She is ineffective for lack of technique & is very self-conscious. If she stayed with us & really worked day by day & all day, she might be very, very good.
It is a very hard profession---and she has a great opportunity with us—but I don’t know if she quite realises what a lot of hard work she has to put in, if she is to make good …’


Alas, Miss Satow does not appear to have made the most of her extravagant gifts. In fact, there is no record of her lighting up the professional stage in any way. She became the second wife of the brilliant songwriter David Heneker, also born in 1907, and the composer responsible for such hit musicals as Irma La Douce, Charlie Girl and Half-a-Sixpence. Indeed, Heneker credits his wife for bringing Tommy Steele’s musical into being. According to him she ‘suddenly sat up in bed one night and produced the idea for Half-a-Sixpence ‘. So, in her ninety years perhaps Satow did contribute something to the success of the British theatre, although it is unlikely that Constance Smedley would have been impressed. [RR]
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Anonymous book donor revealed

Found in a collection of ephemera this intriguing typed letter from the long vanished New York bookshop Tessaro's. The shop was in Maiden Lane which appears to have been a kind of bookseller's row. The address later housed a rare bookshop called Sabin's. Tessaro's was formerly called Rohde and Haskins who had dabbled in publishing at the dawn of the 20th century.

The letter deals with a request for the identity of the anonymous donor of a book from the recipient - a nurse (presumably) at The General Hospital at Fox Hills.  The shop decided ('we'll take a chance') to reveal the donor's identity. Significantly he was a soldier, as Fox Hills was a very large Army hospital dealing at that time with WW1 casualties. There the story ends. It would be nice to add 'and reader she married him.' The bookshop as go-between must be uncommon and in our cautious times it might not reveal the donor, or possibly send on the request to the donor for permission…

Dear Madam 
Acknowledging receipt of your note of 28th July we would say we do not know that the sender of the book desired it to be known who sent it, but we'll take a chance and say to you, in confidence, that it was mailed to you on the order of Lieut. G.C. Anderson.
Yours very truly,
TESSARO'S

Fox Hill Nursing Staff (1921) from
Advance Archive Photos (many thanks)
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Dr. Alfred Salter

Statue of Dr. Salter in Bermondsey

Found among the Reeve* papers this portrait of Dr. Alfred Salter (1873 - 1945) medical doctor and Labour politician - still famous in Bermondsey - as Reeve says he was 'the salt of the earth…'

DOCTOR ALFRED SALTER

Fenner Brockway says that Dr Salter was the most brilliant medical student of his time. He could have had a nameplate proudly displayed in Harley Street, and ended his days a wealthy, outstanding medical practitioner welcomed by the affluent anywhere he sought his leisure moments. Instead he installed his surgery among the somewhat turbulent extroverts of Bermondsey, where the underprivileged masses suffered a shortage of skilful medical talent; and although the borough's alcoholic content may be proportionately higher than many places in England, throughout the district a sense of rightness, perhaps even a touch of gratitude exists for the services of a man whom people knew was a genuine servant of mankind. The dockers, usually fond of their pints, returned to parliament again and again, an ardent teetotaler who loved his fellow men. Bermondsey is like that.
Continue reading

yoxford2152

Lament for a Country Vet

Found - amongst a collection of Suffolk ephemera - this one page poem about a late lamented vet who died in the year of the Titanic and, according to records, was born in 1847. Little is known about him, but the poet W. S. Montgomery, the 'Blind Organ Grinder of Westleton' appears to have been an itinerant local poet and some of his poems and a short note* about him can be found in Barrett Jenkins book from the 1990s - A Selection of Ghost Stories, Smuggling Stories & Poems Connected with Southwold.

In loving memory of Edgar Willmott Wright, M.R.C.V.S.
For many years Veterinary Surgeon at Yoxford,
Died Friday, July 26th, 1912.

Interred at Yoxford Cemetery, Monday, July 29th.

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InsulinHexamer

Who is the Nobelist of them all?

Found - a press-cutting of a letter written to the British medical magazine Pulse (' at the heart of General Practice since 1960.') Not dated, but probably from the late 1970s. It concerns the controversy over the discovery of insulin and was in response to an article "Who is the Nobelist of them all?'. On the following evidence it is possible that Banting is the man…

Nobelist?

Sir,-  may I add this footnote to your absorbing  "Who is the Nobelist of them all?" (PULSE, October 29) : 

Banting and Best  discovered insulin in J.J. Macleod's laboratory when the professor was away on holiday in Scotland. On his return, Mcleod published a paper on the discovery of insulin mentioning that a Doctor Banting had lent a hand.

Banting  was furious and never spoke to Macleod again. When the Carolinian Institute offered the Nobel Prize to McLeod and Banting, he refused until the names of been reversed. He asked for Best to be included, and since the institution turned this down he gave him half his share of the prize money. – Yours, etc, Dr H. Pullar-Strecker, Isleworth.

There is a good article at Wikipedia on Insulin which backs all this up and adds that J.J. Macleod also split his share with another colleague James Collip.

Banting and Best 1924
Jot101Radiesthesiacover612

Radiesthesia—–the swing of the pendulum

Radiesthesia---or dowsing, as it is more familiarly known-- has become trendy again. With devotees such as The Duchess of York, Jerry Hall, Cherie Blair and ahem… Dr Radovan Karodicz, who could fail to be curious about this ancient art of self-exploration? Indeed, the well know poet, psychiatrist, alleged war criminal and Santa Claus lookalike, was actually making a living out of radiesthesia, among other 'alternative therapies' , when he was captured in 2008.

This 1950 first edition of Elementary Radiesthesia, a 48 page pamphlet by devoted dowser, naval officer and veteran of two World Wars, F.A.Archdale, was discovered in a pile of similar oddities that once belonged to the fantasy and penny ballad collector Leslie Shepherd. Printed in Christchurch, Hants, it was published by the author from his home, just down the road in Bournemouth, and sold, according to the sticker inside its front cover, by The Psychic News Book Shop at  140 High Holborn.

The foreword was provided by another local Hampshire bigwig , this time from Barton-on-Sea, one C. L .Cooper-Hunt, M.A.,M.S.F., PsD.,MsD.,D.D., who called himself  ‘Radiesthetic Consultant and Late President of the Radionic Asssociation of Great Britain’. Just what the middle seven of these letters meant in 1950 is beyond me-- I suspect they are made up, like his Doctorate in Divinity. Cooper-Hunt was a very active lecturer in the Bournemouth area, where, in giving talks, he added Major to his name. One thing is certain --- he had been an Army Chaplain (third class) in the Great War.

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John-Parkinson-001-1629-1

Rosemary for Remembrance

Found in an old herbal by the great botanist, apothecary and herbalist John Parkinson (1567 - 1650) a 'sovereign balsam' - a recipe for a curative oil made from rosemary, probably the most prolific of all herbs in Britain. The title of this splendid folio is: Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris : Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers which our English ayre will permit to be noursed up: with a kitchen garden of all manner of herbes, rootes, and fruites, for meate or sause used with us, and an orchard of all sort of fruit-bearing trees and shrubbes fit for our land: together with the right ordering, planting, and preserving of them; and their uses and vertues. Collected by Iohn Parkinson Apothecary of London. Printed by Humfrey Lownes and Robert Young at the Signe of the Starre on Bread-Street Hill, London 1629. True to Ophelia's sad words in Hamlet ('There's rosemary. That's for remembrance. Pray you,love, remember...')  the herb was long associated with preserving and invigorating the memory. The remedy calls for a fortnight's immersion in warm horse dung. As not many now have immediate access to  hot horse manure, an airing cupboard might do for brewing the potion or the warm part of  maturing compost. The 'strong glasse' could be replaced by a Kilner jar...

Rosemary is almost of as great use as Bayes, or any other herbe both for inward and outward remedies, and as well for civill as physicall purposes. Inwardly for the head and heart; outwardly for the sinewes and joynts: for civill uses, as all doe know, at weddings, funerals, &c. to bestow among friends : and the physicall are so many, that you might bee as well tyred in the reading, as I in the writing, if I should set down all that might be faid of it. I will therefore onely give you a taste of some, desiring you will be content therewith. There is an excellent oyle drawne from the flowers aloneby the heate of the Sunne, availeable for many diseases both inward and outward, and accounted a soueraigne Balsame:it is also good to helpe dimnesses of sight, and to take away spots, markes and scarres from the skin ; and is made in this manner. Take a quantitie of the flowers of Rosemary, according to your owne will eyther more or lesse, put them into a strong glasse close stopped, let them in hot horse dung to digest for fourteene dayes, which then being taken forth of the dung, and unstoppcd, tye a fine linnen cloth over the mouth, and turne downe the mouth thereof into the mouth of another strong glasse, which being let in the hot Sun, an oyle will distill downe into the lower glasse ; which preserve as precious for the uses before recited, and many more, as experience by practice may enforme divers,  viz. for the heart, rheumaticke braines, and to strengthen the memory, whereof many of good judgement have had  experience.

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Venereal Disease wall poster

An uncle used to talk about films shown in the army to the troops about the perils of Venereal Disease during WW2. They were pretty graphic and designed to discourage soldiers from putting themselves at risk…This wall poster may date from about that time and was probably displayed in a clinic where the dreaded silver and yellow tubes were dispensed. Medicine has moved on. Note the touching faith in soap - with 5 minutes lathering recommended 'from belt to knees.'

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A Remedie against Ache of the Herte

Found - this small keepsake card with deckled edges published by Mowbray's (bookshop chain and publisher.) It was written by Margaret Smith-Masters, a poet, novelist and translator (from French) who seems to have flourished in the early part of the 20th century. COPAC record a dozen works by her between 1907 and 1936, including one on boy scouts and one published by Burns & Oates, which might indicate she was Roman Catholic. This piece in fake 'Olde Englishe' is reminiscent of the more famous Patience Strong or Wilhelmina Stitch...

A REMEDIE 
against Ache of the Herte

Take 
A lyttel Silence
And of Charitie much quantitie
And of Courtesie a good lie store:
Add thereto some portion of the lowly
    herbe Humilitie;
Of balme of Kindnesse be prodigale;
Season these with spice of Wisdome
And temper with dewes of Mercie;
Of oile of Gladnesse droppe full measure,
And blende alle with sweet Patience.
Be spende-thrifte of this salve for comfort
   of thy fellows
As through the world thou wendest;
Soe shall Ease of Herte be ever thine.

Margaret Smith- Masters