Chemist’s an­cient stock was buried af­ter move

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS -

BU­GLE 1365 (Oc­to­ber 24 edi­tion) car­ried a fas­ci­nat­ing ar­ti­cle by Gail Mid­dle­ton about the early days of apothe­caries, phar­ma­cists and dis­pens­ing chemists, and showed a great, typ­i­cal scene in­side a shop, us­ing the Black Coun­try Liv­ing Mu­seum’s H. Emile Doo as an ex­am­ple.

Daugh­ter

many years, un­til her re­tire­ment around 1980.

Your ar­ti­cle men­tions the stock from Emile’s fa­ther’s time be­ing amongst the items that were brought to the shop when it was re­con­structed at the mu­seum. Their sur­vivial was mainly due to the hur­ried re­moval from one premises to an­other over a cou­ple of days, and the older stock be­com­ing ‘buried’ by newer boxes. Mr Doo in­sisted that the shop was only un­avail­able to cus­tomers for one day – Sun­day – such was his de­vo­tion to peo­ple’s needs, as one could go ‘round the back’ if the need was des­per­ate when the shop was closed.

Look­ing back at some of the slides I took at the time, it has to be ad­mit­ted that al­though by mod­ern stan­dards his stock con­trol left a bit to be de­sired, his ser­vice to the com­mu­nity was noth­ing short of ex­am­plary.

Whilst writ­ing, may I also add a lit­tle to the Michael Doyle let­ter re­gard­ing the Wal­sall leather firm of Jabez Cliff and Co. Ltd. They are ob­vi­ously well-known for horse sad­dles and the like for many years, but way back around 1970 I found a lovely leather belt in a sec­ond-hand shop which cost all of ten bob. When I looked at it prop­erly at home, I saw the fol­low­ing leg­end stampted into the leather near the buckle:

‘Cliff Wal­sall 1942’, fol­lowed by an ar­row.

War sur­plus

The ar­row of course showed it was made for the govern­ment dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, and sub­se­quently be­came sur­plus to re­quire­ments. Need­less to say, the qual­ity of this belt is such that I still wear it reg­u­larly, and with the thick­ness of the leather be­ing around one eighth of an inch, or three mil­lime­tres, it will out­last me and at least an­other gen­er­a­tion!

Richard Jones, Stoney Brook Leys, Wom­bourne

Doo’s Chemist, once of Nether­ton, now faith­fully re­stored at the Black Coun­try Liv­ing Mu­seum

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