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The Three and Sixpenny Doctor

Home Remedies

'Goose fat and brown paper.'

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‘You'd get Cod Liver Oil and stuff called Virol. I loved Virol, it was good, stacked full of sugar.’
Charles Mercer, born 1929

‘I remember the nit nurse. My mother went absolutely spare. I don't know how I got it, my sister and me, both of us had to get paraffin put on us, and oh, talk about burn, but that treated it.’
Cramond Lunch Club, memory of the 1920s

‘You could use hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic. A lot of people put a thin solution in their ear to clean them out. I wouldn't allow anyone near my ears with it!’
Astley Ainslie Hospital, memory of the 1940s

‘You were lined up on a Friday, for liquorice and Gregory Powder, for your bowels.’
Rose Minto, born 1920

‘Wintergreen, you used to get a wee drop o' that rubbed on your chest; but I think it was more of a preventative, to go with the liberty bodice!’
Dot Law, born 1940

‘For whooping cough, you'd be wrapped up and taken out somewhere, where they were doing the roads. You'd be standing in front of the tar machine to get the smell of the tar and that was very good for whooping cough. My mother would lift us near the van to get the smell.’
Cramond Lunch Club, memory of the 1930s

Photo, Lindsay & Gilmour Pharmacies

Bottle label
(Image, City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries Collection)

Giving Birth

'Mother had seven altogether but three died.'

Children’s Nursery 1930s

(Photo, LMA archive)

Babies in cribs on balcony Elsie Inglis Maternity Hospital, 1930
(Photo LMA archive)

‘I was from a very large family and as soon as we saw the doctor's black bag we thought, - Oh, another baby!'
Cramond Lunch Club, memory of the 1930s

‘We'd a woman up the stair that was, a sort of midwife, if somebody was havin' a bairn, she was aye there. And if somebody died, she would lay them out.’
George Hackland, born 1920

‘Mother had seven altogether but three died. Hughie died of diphtheria. He was older than me, and my wee sister was ten months when she died. My dad got the blame for gein' her strawberries, but it was my granny that blamed him, and she was prejudiced. But she died of, I daresay, dysentery or something.’
Rose Minto, born 1920

‘We once went to the side of the Playhouse, Greenside, it was a pretty awful place then, and when we got there the baby was already born. The husband had delivered the baby then he sent for the midwife, she was lying on a mattress in the corner, on the floor.’
Ena Munro, born 1930s

‘It was a drunken old woman attending my mother when Teresa was born. We thought she was gonnae die. Oh, they got paid but they mostly drank their pay. And they werenae clean.’
Rose Mint
o, born 1920

‘They were born at home because it was not the done thing to go into hospital as you would pay a lot of money. Home births were cheaper.’
Astley Ainslie Hospital, memory of the 1930s