Here’s an odd little one for a Saturday afternoon, that I’m hoping will generate some discussion, and act as a precursor to a fascinating and eclectic collection of material donated to the blog recently by new year quiz whizz Lynn Link via the young David Evans.
These two rather old medicines – one remarkably for your pet budgie – are believed to have both originated from Ecob’s Chemist in Walsall Wood – the Kurboil certainly did from the label.
I have been in touch with David Evans via my parents in law with some lovely old snippets of Walsall Wood history via my Grandad who kept three old biscuit tins full of paperwork including newspaper cuttings, shop receipts, dog licenses, payslips, tax everything from 1942 to 1970s.
There was a receipt there for my mom’s first bike and my little trike bike from when I was one. This information only came to light when my Gran passed away before Christmas she was 93 years old and had lived in Walsall Wood all her life. It was sad she would never talk about her early life much.
I will find out some photographs and more information to pass to David Evans hopefully he will put it all together to make a good story of life in the Wood.
There is indeed a great collection of stuff and I thank Lynn for her generous and thoughtful donations, and David’s work to tie them together – this stuff is invaluable and I’ll be featuring more over the coming weeks.
I’d be interested in what readers remember of pills, potions and tonics that were sold by local chemists. In a time before antibiotics and modern painkillers, the community chemist was often the purveyor of a variety of home-brew exotic medicines of varying efficacy. Who remembers Gentian Violet and the kids with purple feet, hands or heads as a result? Iodine perhaps? Zam-buk? (Incredibly, still available in some form).
Liniments were often popular with local sportsmen. Who made the best?
And did your budgie, dog, pigeon or cat frequently need a pick-me-up? Who made it and what was it?
On that subject, recently on a picture of Lichfield, Aer Reg commented on a local vet whose existence I was debating with a friend just the other day: Steele Bodger. Although his name sounds like an obscure leatherwork tool, this well respected animal doctor had a practice in Brownhills near Co-op corner on the Lichfield Road.
He was prominent enough to have his own Wikipedia entry which says:
Steele-Bodger was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, the son of Harry Steele-Bodger, also a noted vet, and the elder brother of Micky Steele-Bodger, another vet and also England international rugby player. He was educated at Shrewsbury School before reading Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and qualifying as a vet at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School, University of Edinburgh. He practised as a Veterinary Surgeon in Lichfield from 1948 until 1977 and then for two years in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
Steele-Bodger was President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association in 1962, President of the British Veterinary Association in 1965-66 and President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1972-73. He was awarded the CBE in 1980.
Steele-Bodger married Anne Finlayson in 1948 and they had three daughters. He died in Monmouth on 17 September 2008
Please folks, any memories or comments on the above welcome, and as ever, my thanks to Lynn and David. I hear from Lynn that the beer prize went down well with her husband!
Feel free to join the conversation: comment here please, or email me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.