Congreve’s Balsamic Elixir

Two bottles for Congreve’s Balsamic Elixir, discarded with other medicines after the death of Mary Everett in 1908. Both clear glass. The bottle on the right is an earlier design, embossed on all four panels: ‘Congreve’s / Celebrated Balsamic/ Elixir/ for cough’s [sic] hooping cough & asthma’. The bottle on the left has its cork and some of its contents. It is embossed on three panels: ‘Congreve’s Balsamic Elixir/ For Consumption, Coughs, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Whooping Cough’. Note that the two grammatical errors on the earlier bottle had been corrected on the later one.


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Posted on

April 3, 2015


  1. Jonathan

    I was blessed to find one of the bottles . The one on the right . Skanska had dug a trench to lay a cable between new Lamp posts at Woodside Green ( Woodside ) Croydon UK/GB . My theory is , when they first opened their Victorian/Edwardian trench to lay a brown glazed water pipe . Locals threw rubbish into the Pipe trench. Eventualy they filled it in . I’m local to that area , so was very suprised to find out there were old bottles burried in this location .

    • Tom Licence

      I’m sure you’re right. In Diss, Norfolk, we excavated a Victorian drain beneath a gravel path that was laid down at the same time (c. 1850-70). A small amount of rubbish had been tipped on top of the drain when the trench was back-filled, before the path was laid on top. Any convenient hole could serve this purpose.


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