Fennings Fever Cure was like drinking poison!
For colds and coughs, they used to rub the chest with camphorated oil, which used to smell so bad. I remember my grandmother using something called Thermogene wool which used to be laid on the chest, they also used to mix up butter and sugar and whisky for coughs. I’m not sure if the butter or sugar did anything but the whisky was alright and I have to admit using both the camphorated oil and butter and sugar on my own children, and it did used to work. I used to be given a cough linctus called Liquafruita, which was laced with garlic and none of my friends would come near me when I was taking this. It used to work though.
The other obsession they used to have was taking Sureshield tablets just in case you got constipated. I used to loathe this regular treatment. Mum used to mix it up with jam to make it taste better, but to me, it made it worse and I would shudder when I had to take it. We had an outside toilet at the time, and it was an awful thing to go in the night. It used to be so cold and spooky, the only light being a night light which used to be on a little shelf in the corner high up so I couldn’t reach it, and of course the inevitable torn up newspaper hanging on a bit of string. Who said they were the good old days!
Another favourite was Fenning’s Fever Cure, which was like drinking poison, fortunately, it was not a favourite of my family, but my best friend’s father swore by it and used to dose anyone who was poorly. I only got it once, never again! Fishermen’s Friends and Victory V tablets were also a favourite. I quite liked the Victory V’s, but the Fishermen’s Friends were vile.
If you had an infected finger, they used to mix up some green washing soap and sugar and put it on as a poultice, it used to draw the infection out of the wound. It was very effective too. There was also a poultice which came in a tin called Kaolin Poultice. This tin used to be warmed in hot water before applying. It was also very effective for boils and there was also a boil plaster just like a big round Elastoplast but with a small hole in the centre. This was very effective too, my mum used to use a handkerchief with a hole in it to pop the boil when it was ready. I once fainted while this practice was being carried out on me.
There were pills for liver complaints and little liquorice tablets for coughs. I’m not sure if these were called Imps, they were very small but very effective. We used to rub dock leaves on nettle stings, this used to do the trick as long as you knew what a dock leaf was. We also used vinegar for stings and sunburn.