A while ago, whilst browsing the local vintage emporium, I found this beautifully aged bottle embellished with the words Boot Cash Chemist. Amazingly the word Boots is written exactly as today’s logo but I had never heard Boots called a cash chemist. I decided to do a little bit of research. This is what I found.
Born in 1850 Jesse Boot grew up helping his father identifying plants for his herbal remedies and, by the age of thirteen, joined his mother to work in her shop selling soaps, herbal remedies and other household items. He absorbed as much knowledge as he could including information from the writings of John Wesley from his book, Primitive Physic or An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases.
He became a medical botanist through experience rather than formal education. He took over the running of the chemist shop in his late twenties. True to his Wesleyan roots, his main aim was to make his own remedies available at a price everyone could afford.
Jesse wanted to add patent medicines to his offering. He hired a qualified chemist, E S Waring. However, it was prohibited for cut price drug stores to process medical prescriptions. Eventually he won the fight to offer patent medicines. The affordable prices attracted millions of customers and by 1914 540 shops had opened throughout the UK.
The stores were called Boots Cash Chemist. This was because people paid cash for the goods rather than using credit.
The bottle is likely to be from the late 1800s to the 1920s.
Thank you to all the pharmacists and everyone who works in a chemist for every single day they go to work to make sure we have the medicines we need.