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‘Choleraphoby’, 1831

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


Mounted coloured lithograph, entitled ‘CHOLERAPHOBY.’, drawn by Robert “Shortshanks” Seymour, lithographed by anon, and published by Thomas McClean in 1831.

Distraught customers crowd around an apothecary’s counter, concerned about an outbreak of cholera. A fat man pounds with a pestle in a mortar; a fashionable shopman serves, another, with a wink, takes a drug jar from a shelf.

A boy holds out a coin and says; “I want a pennorth O camphor”, an anxious woman in a large bonnet; “I feel very poorly”, another cries for “Spirits of Wine and mustard”, others ask for “Camphor” and call “Soap Sir.” This outbreak of cholera had first appeared at Sunderland in 1831, possibly from Hamburg, and had spread to London by February 1832.