Pictures: Artifacts Provide Clues to Life in Early Christchurch

Photograph courtesy Jaden Harris, Underground Overground Archaeology
 
 
 

A tiny container for Holloway's ointment, less than two inches (five centimeters) wide, came from what was probably a brick-lined basement on Madras Street under a multistory modern commercial building.

British patent medicine entrepreneur Thomas Holloway began to advertise his ointment in 1837, claiming it would cure an impressive list of ailments—"Bad Legs, Bad Breasts, Burns, Bunions, Bite of Mosquitoes and Sandflies, Coco-bay, Chiego-foot, Chilblains, Chapped Hands, Corns (Soft), Cancers, Contracted and Stiff Joints, Elephantiasis, Fistulas, Gout, Glandular Swellings, Lumbago, Piles, Rheumatism, Scalds, Sore Nipples, Sore Throats, Skin Diseases, Scurvy, Sore Heads, Tumours, Ulcers, Wound(s), Yaws."

("Coco-bay" is a Jamaican word for a form of leprosy. "Chiego-foot" is a Trinidadian term that describes a foot covered in chigger bites.)

Holloway moved his company several times in London. "The changing address and the subtle differences in the wording and images that appear on these pots are what enable them to be dated," said Watson. The address on this particular pot—533 Oxford Street, London—indicates that it was made between 1867 and 1881.

Published February 21, 2013

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