At Market Lavington Museum, we are fortunate to have quite a collection of old recipe books. Some of these are published books, whilst others are handwritten. We have already seen a recipe for Cough mixture in the Annie Earle (later Welch)’s late 1800s – early 1900s book passed down through the family to our museum founder, Peggy Gye. A similar, though slightly more recent book passed through her husband Tom’s family. In Lucretia E Gye’s recipe book we also find a recipe for cough medicine, though made from entirely different ingredients.
Most of these would have been purchased from a pharmacist and rather than giving a quantity in units of weight or volume we are told to use a pennyworth of paragoric, of aniseed oil, of laudanum and of peppermint. Presumably the treacle and the best vinegar were store cupboard items and these are given in pounds and pints. (Paragoric is also known as camphorated tincture of opium.)
The total cost for this concoction was six pence (a fortieth of £1). A child of four would take one teaspoonful, whilst the adult dose was two teaspoonfuls.