Chemist’s ancient stock was buried after move
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.
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.
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