Laudanum and Neuralgia

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Date:1830 - 1900 (c.)

Description:During the Victorian period cures for diseases were often more dangerous than the illness itself.

Laudanum is a notable example of the Victorian cure. Pharmacies could prescribe the dangerous drug over the counter unchecked. It would be taken for many ailments including headaches and menstrual cramps. Some women would even use the drug to obtain a pale complexion, as frailty among women was considered attractive.
However, Laudanum was addictive due to its opium content. Notable addicts were Lord Bryon, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who wrote the poem Kubla Khan while in a Laudanum induced state), Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats and Edgar Allen Poe. The drug is also mentioned in numerous Victorian books; such as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Neuralgia was a fairly unknown disease till John Locke in 1677 was asked to help the Countess of Northumberland. Previously numerous doctors had tried to describe the condition but failed to fully understand the illness. Locke was able to decrease the pain the Countess was feeling by treating her with laxative therapy.
Later during the 1700s other doctors built on Locke’s ideas and started to prescribe surgery to help the patient. By 1820 Charles Bell had completed the research by separating the disease from others and actually caused the condition to be named trigeminal neuralgia. The medicine pictured would have been prepared by Dale's Chemist, Stoke-on-Trent from Adams's recipe to 'cure' Neuralgia. What it contained we are unsure!


Timeline

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9600s
Wooden Doll
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1360s
Corporation of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Order Book
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1680s
The Natural History of Staffordshire by Robert Plot
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Robert Plot was extremely interested in natural history and consequently became ...

1730s
The works of Virgil translated into English Blank verse with large explanatory notes & critical observations by Joseph Trapp
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Joseph Trapp was an English Clergyman, academic, poet and pamphleteer; his achievements ...

1800s
Prattware Coiled Serpent Puzzle Pipe
Prattware Coiled Serpent Puzzle Pipe

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1820s
Apedale Hall, Newcastle-under-Lyme
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1840s
Bell Ringers Jug, Newcastle-under-Lyme
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Bell ringing can be thirsty work and in order to give the ringers the strength to ...

1870s
Combinations, c.1870-1900
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Combinations are chemise and drawers together in one seamless article of clothing. ...

1890s
Wool jacket, c.1890-1910
Wool jacket, c.1890-1910

This is a grey wool jacket probably worn at the end of the Victorian period or beginning ...

1910s
Metal Disk Spurs, WW1
Metal Disk Spurs, WW1

These spurs were used by Lt. Colonel Harry Johnson. When the First World War ...

1920s
Christening Gown and Veil, 1920s
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A 1920s lace gown and veil worn by the donor Mrs D Wilson when she was a baby. She ...

1940s
British Red Cross Beret, c.1940-1960
British Red Cross Beret, c.1940-1960

This is a lady's Red Cross Officers beret and was in use in the 1940s and 1950s.

1970s
Fire Engines, Newcatle-under-Lyme
Fire Engines, Newcatle-under-Lyme

The Museum's old Newsham Fire engine with a 'modern' 1970 engine alongside probably ...

1990s
WPC Police Bowler Hat
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Female police officers wore different uniforms to the men till around the 1990s, ...

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Donor ref:Tm4152/Tm4066 (22/25855)

Source: Brampton Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle under Lyme

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