London SE1 website team

Victorian medicines go on display in Lambeth

One of SE1's least-known museums has launched a new Developing Treatments display to mark National Science and Engineering Week.

An advert for Steedman’s Soothing Powders dating
An advert for Steedman’s Soothing Powders dating from the late 1800s

Visitors to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's museum will be able to explore medicines specifically targeted at men, women and children in history and today, including what treatments Victorian pharmacists sold for teething babies, ingredients in a "female pill" and recommended cures for "man flu".

Medicines in the display include bear's grease for baldness, ipecacuanha for whooping cough and mugwort for hysteria. Other items range from a rhinoceros horn to an "electro-medical" teething necklace and the story is brought up to date with contemporary treatments for whooping cough, the menopause, and erectile dysfunction among many others.

"The museum's Developing Treatments display is an excellent way to investigate the predecessors and origins of today's medicines," says Briony Hudson.

"What is particularly fascinating in this year's exhibition is how attitudes to patients have also changed – especially towards women and children."

The free display is on show in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's reception area, and is open to all visitors Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. RPSGB is situated at the corner of Lambeth Road and Lambeth High Street.

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