I'd love to be able to help but I have no idea when he was born or died, all I know about Mr Box is he was a famous English quaker herbalist in the early 20th century, he apparently wrote a book called "The Great Bird that says one Word - Quack", although I can't find any listing of the book anywhere, but someone may have a copy. He'd been practising herbal medicine for over 60 years when he died.
In Matthew Wood's book "The Book Of Herbal Wisdom" it says of Mr Box that he lived through the "perilous influenza epidemic of 1918". Maybe it would be worth contacting Matthew Wood to see if he knows anymore about Box, or maybe Kevin or Anthony will have an idea? Sorry I couldn't be more help, I will keep my eyes peeled for any further information about Mr Box on my literary travels.
November 13 2008, 6:25 AM
There are a few details on the website of Plymouth herbalists, Rickard Lane's as W.H.Box & Company was one of the three companies that form the "roots" of Rickard Lane's. The dates of his birth and death are not given. It may do no harm to contact them?
[Edited to add the url first then to correct what I'd mistyped the first time and finally to sort out the fact that the whole text became a url!]
This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Nov 13, 2008 7:04 AM This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Nov 13, 2008 7:01 AM This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Nov 13, 2008 7:00 AM
Re: Henry Box
November 13 2008, 7:08 AM
Re the post by Kevin, I gave the url as with an / at the end as is customary these days, for some reason this forum doesn't like forward slashes adding to the end of a url so the above link will not work despite my editing it to work, the code adds a > to the url that isn't needed and it then brings up a blank page.
If you do the link without a / http://www.rickardlanes.co.uk it works, I apologise for the incorrect link above, but at least I've learnt something from the experience.
January 7 2009, 5:20 AM
The website www.chemistbottles.co.uk/box.htm contains more details about Henry Box,his books and photographs of his old advertising material and pictures of labels and containers.
Box's indegestion pills figure prominently in the article and I indeed remember seeing them on sale in Baldwin's shop in London back in the late 1960's.
Re: Henry Box
January 9 2009, 11:47 PM
Superb find, how did you find it? I just had a read of the page you linked to and have stored it for future reference, Henry Box seemed like a very dedicated man. I'm now sure if this is a coincidence, but I found an article from the 6th Jan written by a Dr James Chappell, I wonder if it's the same person who asked about Henry Box originally, if it is I hope he's read our answers. It would be good to hear if they were of any use, or if he'd discovered anything himself? http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Natural-Cures-Work&id=1843496>
January 12 2009, 4:52 AM
i see from one of Sarah's posts you have been unwell,i do hope you are now recovered.
i found the website through google.i typed in W.H.Box,herbalist,Plymouth and that site was one of the first to come up after Rickard Lane's website.
browsing through some of the others i found he was a great advocate of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy and had no time for the manufacturers of patent medicines during his time.hardly surprising,they had some pretty foul,if not decidedly dangerous ingredients!
all the best
June 11 2009, 7:32 AM
Rickaerd Lane's publish an interesting booklet outlining the history of their company,the connection with Box and the company philosophy.
William Henry Box was born in 1845 and died in 1916.From Cornwall a powerful temperance Methodist,as indeed all Methodists were in that era.
He studied herbal medicine after being written off in his teenage years as consumptive[tuberculosis] and subsequently cured himself.
Interestingly,Lancashire herbalist Charles Abbott had a similar history.Cured of tuberculosis by a herbalist after being given a year to live,he did in fact live into his ninetees dying in 1983 following a car crash.His old consulting practice in Leigh still lives on.
I have sent a copy of the Rickard Lane's leaflet to the Herb Society Library.
Re: Henry Box
July 2 2009, 8:45 AM
Sorry I've not responded sooner, I have the booklet you sent me many thanks, have only given it a quick read through, but I'm going to contact Rickard's Lane to see if they'll allow some (or all of it) to be reprinted on the HS website in the members area, I'm sure others are fascinated with this historical aspect of herbal medicine and its pioneers as we are?
I haven't forgotten your promise to write something for me on old herbalist shops etc either I'll be in touch properly very soon.
You won't be able to read the full page unless you are in USA or use an American proxy server, so here's an image:
This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Jul 2, 2009 11:22 AM
Re: Henry Box
July 2 2009, 11:25 AM
No I haven't come across that report before, very interesting, I wonder how many other herbalists went through the same thing, if you come across any others do let me know. I know that Dr W T Fernie was indirected called to testify in a murder trial, but off the top of my head know of no others. Although Kevin may know some?
July 15 2009, 7:17 AM
That extact sent in by Peter was most interesting,I wish to thank him.
Prosecutions were quite common in the late 19th century generally in connection with post mortems.
R.L.Hool in "Common Plants and their Uses in Medicine" gives a lengthy extract on proceedings in the case brought against a London herbalist,James Wallis,in 1884.It was on the basis that death had been caused by poisoning due to an overdose of lobelia.Wallis was acquitted as in fact a number of orthodox physicians gave evidence on his behalf as lobelia was widely used by the medical profession at that time.
Let me see if I can find any other cases.
July 20 2009, 6:07 AM
P.S.Brown in his paper The Vicissitudes of Herbalism in late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century Britain[a paper that I have mentioned before],mentions several cases including Rex vs Abbott,Manchester Assizes March 29th 1933.
This case relates to Charles Abbott who practised for many years in Leigh,Lancashire.The case is known as the "Black Box" case.I have no specific knowledge of the case but suspect it relates to the use of a "black box" for diagnosis,as was used in radiethesia,a system based on dowsing and now largely discredited.
Henry Lane's dates
September 2 2009, 12:20 AM
Henry Lane was born in 1855 and died in 1911. However, his widow carried on the business at 1 & 5 Market Street, Plymouth. A wikipedia page called Rickard Lane's is currently being edited with more information.
dr w h box
February 17 2012, 6:58 PM
I live in the late Dr Box's house in Devon.
He actually died in 1917 of influenza. He was survived by his wife.
He was born nr Delabole in Cornwall in 1845.
I have done some research around his life. He was employed by a chemist firm in south London in the 1880s before returning to set up business in Plymouth. His herbs were collected in the countryside around Totnes and then taken to Plymouth for sale from his shop.
February 24 2012, 2:58 AM
Most interested to read Colin's post in connection with Henry Box.Thank you Colin for sharing this.
In this thread we have also dealt with Charles Abbott and his "black box".I was motivated to investigate further on seeing his photograph on Napier's website.The excellent Leigh Life and Wigan Government websites provided the information I needed.
As I suspected the radiethesia "black box"was used to match symptoms to appropriate herbs.A spot of the patient's blood went into the blood and the subsequent vibrations matched a herbal medicine to the vibrations.It brought him to grief and into Court following the death of a boy from meningitis though he was acquitted of manslaughter.A book under the title "Hocus Pocus" covered the case.
Abbott was still in practice when he dies in 1972 at the age of 83.At that time he had 2400 registered patients and a long waiting list.Although he was an MNIMH,he never received any formal training,but was apprenticed to the Bolton herbalist who had cured his tuberculosis[hi,Sarah!I enjoyed your rant.]
September 19 2012, 7:19 PM
I have a lot of Charlie Abbott's pamphlets voicing his opinions on the founding of the NHS! I am happy to give these away gratis to those with a genuine interest in herbal medicine history. Zoe, our herbalist at Abbotts in Leigh is also currently writing a history of Abbotts, recording the oral memories of many of our older patients, especially those of our 'black box'! Please email me at email@example.com if you would like one or write to me at Monica Wilde, Napiers Remedies, Rickard Lane's and WH Box Ltd, 24 Tennant Street, Edinburgh EH6 5ND (A5 SAE appreciated but not necessary).
October 2 2012, 4:58 AM
Delighted to know that Zoe is going to write a history of the business,it will be a most interesting read.On a very recent visit to Abbott's i obtained a copy of Charlie Abbott's book "A Legacy of Health".
He certainly had his own philosophy.A lifelong vegetarian,an opponent of vaccination and smoking[ahead of his times].However,more tolerant of moderate alcohol consumption than temperance men such as Henry Box and Duncan Napier.
Abbott was so closely associated with Leigh that the history section of a local pub's website,The Boar's Head, gives him a mention.
Re: Henry Box
March 6 2013, 4:43 PM
Glad you got a chance to visit Abbotts and meet Zoe who is keeping the practice alive. Between all of us there is certainly enough to write about all the turn of the century herbalists who have come under our wing!
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