Monday, 10 August 2009

Iron Jelloids, Holloway

Hadn't the sun come out this weekend, I would have posted either one of the Sunlight soap signs or the doorstep mosaics of the Rising Sun on Tottenham Court Road, in the vain hope of making it appear. However since they both featured on Jane's blog on Thursday, I've decided to keep them up my sleeve for a bit longer. In any case Jane's posting did the trick: after a rather mixed week, it was all sunshine over the South West Coast Path between Weymouth and Abbotsbury on Saturday, and even though yesterday wasn't as gorgeous, the sculptures on the facade of Salisbury's cathedral really came to life in the warm late afternoon light. So, thanks Jane for saving our weekend! By the way, I found a couple of painted signs and mosaics in both Weymouth and Salisbury and shall post them later.
In the meantime, to start the week on a good footing, here is one of the many painted signs for that "great tonic [that] makes healthy, happy homes": Iron Jelloids!

The origins of the tonic and restorative medicine date back to 1895, when Warrick Bros. (also spelt in some journals as Warwick Bros.), manufacturing chemist of 18 Old Swan Lane, London, submitted a new pill made by mixing freshly precipitated sub-carbonate of iron with jujube mass. One year later ads for Iron Jelloids were being printed in medical journals and doctors started recommending it in articles. To handle production and marketing of their new product, Warrick Bros set up The Jelloid Co., of Finsbury Pavement, and by April 1913 The British Journal of Nursing could write that "Iron Jelloids are now well-known as a neutral, palatable, non-constipating form of Iron Tonic." In 1917 The Jelloid Co. was incorporated as a limited liability company and became Iron Jelloid Co. Ltd., with headquarters in City Road / Central Street, EC1, and production lines in Watford, Herts. The company ran several campaigns in the press (example of the 1912 ad) to promote "the great aid to health", and even sponsored in the early 1920s at least two books: The Iron Jelloids Nursery Rhymes Painting Book and A Humorous History of Britain by C. Harrison. Everybody in the household could have his or her Iron Jelloids. Children could be given the gelatinous lozenges No. 1 to help them grow, men and women with anaemia or feeling a bit down could try a fortnight of N. 2, while men could even take the extra-strong No. 2A (examples of a 1921 ad, printed in The Sydney Mail, and a 1924 ad). It seemed there was little Iron Jelloids could not do! In 1922 the remedy even got a mention in James Joyce's Ulysses:

Gerty MacDowell who was seated near her companions, lost in thought, gazing far away into the distance, was in very truth as fair a specimen of winsome Irish girlhood as one could wish to see. She was pronounced beautiful by all who knew her though, as folks often said, she was more a Giltrap than a MacDowell. Her figure was slight and graceful, inclining even to fragility but those iron jelloids she had been taking of late had done her a world of good much better than the Widow Welch's female pills and she was much better of those discharges she used to get and that tired feeling. (Episode 13 - Nausicca)

In 1930 Iron Jelloids Co. Ltd. was acquired by Beecham Pill Ltd. Production continued in Watford before moving to the main Beecham's factory in St Helens, Lancs. Beecham must have discontinued Iron Jelloids in the mid-1970s or 1980s.

The sign below is one of several I have come across in London. Since the prices quoted are the same as those on the 1924 printed ad, it may date from around the mid-1920s.

For Health & Beauty
Great ...
All Chemists 1'3 & 3'

Location: Windsor Road / Picture taken on: 01/04/2008


Sam Roberts said...

There are more Iron Jelloids signs across the country, for example here and here.

These featured in this little montage.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

I'll post some more Iron Jelloids signs in a near future, including the one in Acton. The lettering is very interesting. Different from all the other ones I've seen so far.

Jane said...

Hi Sebastien.
I meant to comment on this a while back to say thanks for the mention and the link. There is a also (possible) REMEDY or REMEDIES in the middle

Also would you be interested in taking part in a London quiz with me and some other bloggers on Dec 8th?
Please contact me through my site for more details