Health Choices


In Victorian times there was a cure for everything – at least, that’s what many of the quacks and chemists of the time claimed! 
This exhibition explores the choices on offer in 1842 and shows how real cures were rare at that time.
Treatment depended on how much money people had, but even expensive remedies could be ineffective or harmful. People saw little difference between qualified doctors and ‘quacks’, and medicines were made by chemists and druggists as well as doctors. Millions of people who could not afford to see a doctor took ‘patent’ medicines made by private companies who spent huge sums advertising their ability to cure anything.
Wealthier people kept personal medicine chests, such as the one on display that belonged to Prince Albert. Doctors would also prescribe strong laxatives or purges to treat various illnesses, as well as treatments such as drinking or bathing in sea water.
This fascinating exhibition invites visitors to imagine what it must have been like to be ill in Victorian times and the choice of treatments available.

Find out if you would have made the right decisions!