W.R. Roberts Cold Cream of Roses Victorian Ointment Pot

3 Nov

W.R. Roberts Cold Cream of Roses Victorian ointment pot. Top of lid. Courtesy J. Leech.

This is a W.R. Roberts Cold Cream of Roses ointment pot dating from 1888 for the prevention of chapped hands & softening the skin.

The cold cream would have been made of from a combination of fats mixed with water and may have included beeswax and scented with rose.

The pot is approximately 6cm in diameter.

W.R. Roberts Cold Cream of Roses Base from 1888. Courtesy J. Leech.

W.R. Roberts was listed in the Yearbook of Pharmacy from July 1, 1892, to June 30, 1893, which contained abstracts of papers relating to pharmacy, materia medica and chemistry, which was contributed to British and foreign journals. The yearbook also included the transactions of the British Pharmaceutical Conference (13th Annual Meeting) which was held in Nottingham August, 1893 (Martin et al 1892)

The British Pharmaceutical Conference was started in 1863 and ran until 1983. The aim was to encourage research and dialogue between pharmacists and yearbook contains many recommendations from pharmacists around the country.

The yearbook was published by J & A Churchill (John and Augustus) of London, the first great medical publisher which originally started as J. Churchill by John and Augustus’ father, John Spriggs Morse Churchill who published his first book in 1840, Erasmus Wilson’s Anatomist’s Vade Mecum: A System of Human Anatomy.

W.R. Roberts Cold Cream of Roses. Side view of lid. Courtesy J. Leech.

It appears that W.R. Roberts of Rusholme was a pharmacist and a member of the British Pharmaceutical Conference and was invited to the conference in Nottingham in 1893.

There is no mention of a pharmacist or druggist W.R. Roberts of Rusholme in Slater’s Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1879. However, this may just mean that the business hadn’t started.

Somewhat less obvious is the detail on the lid referring to the Post Office in Rusholme. Also W.R.Roberts is listed under George’s Hospital. Did this refer to the St. George’s teaching hospital in London which was founded in 1733.

If you know anymore details or could add anymore to this post, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us by using the form below.


Martin F.L.S., F.R.M.S, N.H., Martindale, W., Carteige F.I.C., F.C.S., M., Groves, F.C.S, T.B., Reynolds F.T.C, F.C.S, R., Naylor, F.I.C, F.C.S., W.A.H. (1892 (MDCCCXCII)). Yearbook of Pharmacy. London: J. & A. Churchill, 11, New Burlington Street. p285.

Scott, A., Eadie, M., Lees, A. (2012). William Richard Gower 1845-1915 Exploring the Victorian Brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Slater (1879). Slater’s Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1879. [Part 2: Trades, Institutions, Streets, etc.], 1879. Part 2. Manchester & London: Slater’s.


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