Hull-istic Medicine: Public Health through Time

Disease and Cure, 1700 - 1900

At the moment more and more people are beginning to use homeopathic medicines, medicines made from natural substances. We have free healthcare now, because we have a National Health Service, but in the 18th and 19th Centuries you had to pay to see a doctor, so most people tried to cure themselves at home. They tried ancient remedies and mixed natural ingredients with new drugs. Some of the ingredients they used we know now are actually poisonous, addictive or incredibly bad for you. Ingredients like laudanum, opium and mercury appear in the remedies in our archives.


We have a lot of recipe/remedy books from stately homes and ordinary households at the Hull History Centre. They give us a great idea how people used to live. Take a look at the images of original remedies from our Hotham Family Collection (Hull History Centre ref: DDHO) and see what ingredients you would still use to cure these diseases and which ones you definitely wouldn’t! (Transcripts are available to download, see links below).

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