Sugar of lead with two grains of opium please…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word brackish.

Here we go again, visiting that strange world of Britain back in the 1930s. If you had a bit of money back then, and had a family, and a nice house, you probably employed a maid, oh, and perhaps a reliable salt-of-the-earth odd job man and gardener – if you were a person like that you’d be certain to have a copy of The Daily Express Enquire Within (1934) to hand in your well-polished, oak, glass-fronted book-case in the dining room.
This substantial volume has everything one could ever require – chapters on: cooking, law, medical issues, gardening hints, general information, a social guide, games and amusements, household hints, and Miscellaneous Receipts, whatever they might be. Here’s a nice picture of the title page, the cover itself is far too drab to bother showing you dear reader.

Each page has several entries, but across the head of each there is an uplifting proverb or biblical quotation to keep you going as you thumb through (probably looking for ways to take that scoundrel butcher to court) – I will include one of these with each of today’s randomly selected items.

Page 275. (Good-nature collects honey from every herb.)
Astringent. – Mix sixteen grains of acetate of lead (sugar of lead) with two grains of opium, and make into a mass with extract of dandelion, so as to make eight pills. Dose, from one to two. Use, as an astringent in obstinate diarrhoea, dysentery, and spitting of blood.

Page 421. (He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.)
To Oil Clocks.
To oil clocks use only the very purest oil, purified by adding lime water in the proportion of one-quarter to one of oil. Shake well and allow to stand for three or four days, when it may be drawn off. Use refined machine oil.

Page 203. (Man proposes but God disposes.)
Instruments giving powers of distress.
Certain instruments giving powers of distress are also to be registered under the Bills of Sale Act to be of any validity against the trustees in bankruptcy or execution creditors.

Page 469. (Love thyself last; cherish those who hate thee.)
This art has of late years become exceedingly popular among amateurs of both sexes, and it remarkable how many of one’s friends possess cameras, and how soon they acquire the art of using them with success. The camera is a useful and pleasant companion in our rambles, and by its means we can record many pleasant incidents which have occurred during a holiday, and, more especially, the features of our friends and relatives.

Page 70. (A stitch in time saves nine.)
Potato Pudding.
Bruise with a wooden spoon, through a colander, six large or twelve middle-sized boiled potatoes; beat four eggs, mix with a pint of good milk, stir in the potatoes; sugar and seasoning to taste; butter the dish; bake half an hour. A little Scotch marmalade makes a delicious accompaniment.

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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5 Responses to Sugar of lead with two grains of opium please…

  1. Sharon Mann says:

    “Enquire Within” solves everything…Pills….lead and opium can take care of anything. Amazing that these items were ready available to make ones own medicine.

  2. Jheron Bash says:

    Two grains of opium – fine! Not sure about the sixteen grains of acetate of lead though?

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