Blists Hill plays a starring role in prime time BBC2 series
21st July 2010
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We all have cause to visit the chemist shop once in a while, and usually, it’s to pick up something we are pretty sure is going to make us feel better.

But imagine what a truly scary prospect this must have been in Victorian times, when medicine was rudimentary at best, and downright dangerous in some cases.

Which is why a new series on BBC2, entitled Victorian Pharmacy, is so fascinating, as well as offering a great history lesson on the development of modern medicine.

It is an historical observational documentary series – but don’t be put off by that!

Following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Victorian Farm, it follows a unique experiment, with historian Ruth Goodman, Professor Nick Barber and PhD student Tom Quick recreating an authentic 19th-century pharmacy.

They take a look at the weird and wonderful remedies used in the Victorian era, such as leeches, oil of earthworm and potions laced with cannabis and opium.

Later in the series they also look at the role of pharmacists in developing everything from custard powder and Worcester Sauce to matches, fireworks, disinfectant and aspirin.

The four-part series started last Thursday (15) at 9pm, but you can catch any episodes missed on the BBC’s iPlayer, and even take a look at the set yourself, as the pharmacy at Blists Hill Victorian Town, the open-air museum in the Ironbridge Gorge, was used as a location for the series.

The ten museums at Ironbridge Gorge are open seven days a week from 10am until 5pm, with activities and workshops which vary from day-to-day.

For some great family entertainment this summer, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre to find out more on 01952 884 391 or visit

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