Monthly Update, December 2017
The Victorian Age:
The title of the latest public lecture in our series on science, history and broadcasting was'Victorian Pharmacy'. Sue Clark presented a clear picture of society in that period, with huge developments in industry leading to success and wealth for some, but to unemployment, poverty and starvation for others. She talked about the major diseases of the period, whooping cough, tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, measles and influenza, and the appalling injuries which occurred in the factories and workplaces. People at that time didn't realise that diseases could spread from one person to another, through lack of hygiene, and health and safety rules hadn't been formulated. Wealthy people called a Physician to treat them when they were ill, but poor people had to go to the Apothecary who would dispense medicines for them. In 1841, the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was created and the training of pharmacists began.
This is a picture of a typical Victorian pharmacy. It was a large place with a number of workers fulfilling different roles. The Pharmacist would treat all kinds of diseases and illnesses and he would create medicines by extracting ingredients from plants, bark etc, and mixing them. He would supply the local doctors, the dentist and the hospital, and he would also treat horses as they were so important for transport. It is doubtful whether these remedies were beneficial, and often poisonous ingredients were used unknowingly.
During this period also, the power of advertising became apparent and some of the products are still available today, as is seen in the picture.
The National Health Service was set up in 1948, and we are very grateful for it. It is dreadful to think that people across the world today are still suffering from Victorian major diseases because of poverty, famine, war and dirty water.
The Museum has created a 1940s living room where it is possible to sit to have a chat and a cuppa. It contains furniture from the period, radios, a gramophone and a television from 1948 which received BBC television from Sutton Coldfield only. There is also a RGD Radiogram from 1936, the best Radiogram produced in the UK before the war. It cost £126 - the wage of a teacher at that time being £2 a week.
There was great excitement in the Museum recently when Ceri, Brian and Hugh succeeded in contacting another Radio Amateur, Daniel, in Bogota, Columbia.
Here are the next lectures in the series:
January 19th, “Making jewels”, by John Clark.
February 16th, “Broadcasting in the 1980s at Radio Havana Cuba”, by Lila Haines.
March 16th, “Broadcasting in Wales”, by Ifor ap Glyn.
This will be the annual David Edward Hughes lecture.
April 20th, “The sea tragedies of the ‘Ocean Monarch’ and the ‘Lelia’”, by
Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture by Ioan Talfryn on Sir T. H. Parry-Williams.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and light refreshments follow.
A warm welcome to everyone.