Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Stornoway's Druggists

The term 'Pharmacist' is not found in the 1841-1901 censuses but the alternative 'Druggist' is:

Alexander Macpherson, 33, Grocer & Druggist, Bayhead St, b. Gairloch, Ross
Neil Clapperton, 18, Druggist Assistant, Bayhead St, b. Oban, Argleshire

Alexander Mcpherson, 43, Druggist, 7 Francis St, b. Gairloch

Alexander Mcpherson, 53, Druggist & Bookseller, 33, Kenneth St, b. Gairloch
Donald Mcaulay, 18, Shopman (Druggist & Bookseller), Apprentice, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Alexander Mckenzie, 14, Shopman (Druggist & Bookseller), Apprentice, b, Ardnamurchan, Argyleshire

Alexander McPherson, 63, Druggist & Book Seller, 48, Point St, b. Gairloch
Donald Murray, 18, Druggist Salesman, Inaclete No 20, b. Stornoway

Thomas C Henderson, 25, Chemist & Druggist, 78, Keith St, b. Alyth, Perth

Roderick Smith, 28, Chemist & Druggist, 33 Newton St, b. Stornoway

We can see that Alexander Macpherson was the town's 'Druggist' for at least the 30-year period of 1851-1881, from the making of the first synthetic dye, 'Perkin's Mauve', to Mendeleev's brilliant innovation of the Periodic Table and beyond. The field of medicine was making giant strides in understanding and combating disease and the 'Druggist' played a significant role in improving public health, preparing many of the lotions and potions in his shop using a huge variety of ingredients ranging from herbs collected from the wild to refined chemicals. It must have been an exciting (perhaps one might even say 'intoxicating'?) time to be performing this role. The pace of change would have been even greater during the time of his two successors.

Note: The end of the 19thC also sees the first Chemists in Stornoway since the days of the Lewis Chemical Works (1852-1874) and I shall endeavour to examine them in my next piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment