Winchester’s own Victorian Pharmacy

Those who are folllowing the current BBC2 tv series “Victorian Pharmacy”, will be interested to know that Winchester has its very own reconstructed Victorian chemist’s shop in the City Museum in The Square.

Hunt’s the Chemist traded from 45 High Street, Winchester from 1861 to 1980 when the shop was closed and all business moved to the Silver Hill branch. Upon the closure of the High Street shop, the fixtures and fittings were transferred to Winchester Museums Service and the shop was reconstructed in the City Museum as it would have appeared around the year 1900.

The Hunt’s reconstruction includes drug drawers with the names of the former contents such as ‘James’s Fever Powder’ and the various ingredients used to prepare the curious remedies and potions that were prescribed at the time. Also on display are the large coloured-water filled bottles, or carboys, that historically denoted chemist’s shops, and a jar which would have held the leeches used in blood-letting as a cure-all by 19th century druggists.

Cllr Dominic Hiscock, Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity at Winchester City Council, said: “Shops and shopping are a part of all our lives, from childhood onwards, so it is not surprising that the reconstructed old shops on the ground floor of the City Museum are popular with visitors of all ages. I can thoroughly recommend a visit.”

Ross Turle, Curator of Recent History at Winchester City Council’s Museums Service, added: “Looking at the jars and reading the labels on the drug drawers in the Hunt’s reconstruction will help bring the BBC series to life. It will probably also make people glad that they have access to modern medical advice!”

Admission to the City Museum is free. Museum opening hours are 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, Noon – 5pm on Sunday.