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Lost Tribe - the People's Memories.

Byline: Ken Rogers

I RECENTLY discussed home-made medical remedies and mentioned the use of poultices for dealing with cuts and infections.

Mildred Hassett, from Crosby, said: "Every household once had a tin of Kaolin, bought at the chemist. The tin was placed in boiling water until it became red hot. The contents were then spread on a rag and slapped on the offending wound. The screams could be heard as far as the Pier Head.

"Sore throats were dealt with using sulphur powder. A funnel was made from a newspaper. Your mother would place it in your mouth and blow it down your throat. It wasn't pleasant, but worked. I am 84 years young and your Echo stories bring back great memories."

Many thanks, Mildred. In the modern world of "'elf and safety", I should add that you should never try any of this at home.

However, Kath Binnion, from Winsford, said: "Your column brought back many childhood memories about the remedies my grandmother used on me and my sisters. Apart from giving us malt and cod liver oil, a weekly routine, we were also given sulphur tablets.

"Of course, we did not get the flavoured versions. Ours were green in colour and tasted vile. We were given these like sweets to 'purify our blood' and I must admit we never suffered with spots."

You have to remember, Kath, that if a remedy didn't taste vile, it wasn't doing you any good!

But back to memories of poultices (we talk about the strangest things).

Kath explained: "Grandmother would use sugar and soap, mixed into a paste on a piece of cloth and placed on the spot where it was needed. Another cure, for a sore throat, was a hot potato in a sock, tied around the throat."

Now I like the sound of that, Kath. If you began to feel a bit better, you can have a late bedtime snack!

Of course, remedies were often linked with superstitions. Kath continued: "Grandmother would say that if you looked in the mirror too often, you would see the devil behind you. She also had all the usual rules like 'don't cross knives' or 'don't sing at the table'.

"I still abide by these rules and my grandchildren must sometimes think that 'Nan' is going too far. I only wish I could do the same with mobile phones. Youngsters are constantly talking on their mobiles when they are in company."

I know where you are coming from here, Kath. But then we're all from the "children should be seen and not heard" generation. Clearly, there was sound common sense behind many of these old fashioned sayings and cure-alls.

Keep sending them in to: Ken Rogers, Liverpool Echo, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.

Or view and leave memories at: The new book, Lost Tribe - the People's Memories, is on sale now at all good book shops, priced pounds 9.99.
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Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2012
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