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Dispensing pot for 'Poor Man's Friend', England, 1860-1885

‘Poor Man’s Friend’ was a popular ointment used for wounds, bruises, cuts, ulcers, aches and pains, pimples and fistulas, among other conditions. It was formulated by Dr Giles Roberts (d. 1834) in the 1790s in Bridport, Dorset, England. His business was taken over by two of his workers, Beach and Barnicott. The ointment was so successful it was still available 200 years later. The recipe for the ointment is now held at Bridport Museum in Dorset. This pot would have been filled with the ointment so the customer could take it home and it would have cost 1s 1d (5.5 p).

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Glossary: fistula

An abnormal passage, usually between two internal organs, or between an internal organ and the surface of the body.

Glossary: dispensing pot

pot used to contain ointments, medications, perfumes