Watt family, Scotland, chemists: recipe and note book

mid-19th century
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Watt family, Scotland, chemists: recipe and note book. Public Domain Mark. Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


Small soft-cover notebook recording recipes and general notes on pharmacy, materia medica, etc. The formulae are generally medical and include (for example) medicines for epilepsy or cholera and recipes for nipple ointment or diuretics, but also include some for household compounds such as lamp black or lacquer and at least one recipe for horse medicine.

At the front is an index to recipes and formulae, referring to recipes by page number. There then follows a large number of recipes and formulae, of which the initial 55 pages are numbered, written in a neat hand and referred to in the index; following this come several pages of additions in a less tidy hand, this latter section not indexed. Some recipes refer to individuals by name; it is not always clear whether these individuals are patients for whom the medicine was to be compounded, or the source of the recipe. Many of the personal names are Scottish and there is reference to Edinburgh.

At the other end of the book is a section of more discursive notes on chemicals and plants, describing their medical uses: there are long sections on chloroform and cannabis.


mid-19th century

Physical description

1 volume

Acquisition note

Purchased from Martyn Rowe, Auctioneer and Valuer, The Truro Auction Centre, Cornwall, in April 2013.

Biographical note

In the inside front cover is a note "Bequeathed by Alexander Sutherland Watt to George Watt", whilst inside the back cover is a poem beginning "George Watt is my name / Scotland is my nation / Haddington is my dwelling place..." Some of the recipes are dated, indicating that at least some of this volume was compiled in the 1860s.

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Accession number

  • 1987