Everything in this large 'medicine cabinet' at Sunnycroft in Shropshire is original, including the antiseptic smell. Inside the mahogany linen press are over 300 medicines and toiletries used by three generations of the Lander family, who lived here until 1997. The contents include bottled remedies, soaps, bandages and packets of pills dating from the 1920s onwards, including many familiar brands and labels. Until the mid-1800s, many medicines were herbal remedies, but scientific and medical discoveries greatly improved understanding about the human body in the decades that followed. By the 20th century, affordable medicines were readily available over the counter of chemist shops such as Boots (founded in 1849), and were kept in a drawer or cabinet at home ready for use. Unlike earlier patent remedies, these mass-manufactured medicines were subject to rigorous testing. The Landers’ medicine cabinet contains products such as Pepsodent toothpaste, cod-liver oil and Sloan’s Liniment for relieving pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis. The liniment’s active ingredient is capsicum (chilli pepper), which warms the skin. As well as medicines, the cabinet includes Palmolive shaving cream, 4711 Eau de Cologne, Soltan suntan lotion (launched in 1939), and an early solid perfume called Frozoclone.
A mahogany linen press, English, third quarter 19th century, the moulded cornice, above a pair of cupboard doors with arched panels, the upper outside corners of the doors with scroll-form corbels, the cupboard doors opening to reveal three sliding shelves, the lower chest section with two short above two long drawers, the drawers with turned knob handles, on four turned feet.
Sunnycroft was built in 1880 for J.G. Wackrill, founder of the Shropshire Brewery. It was bought in the early 1890s by Mary Jane Slaney who proceeded to extend the house and lay out the grounds to create the estate that is there today. After Mary Slaney died in 1912 the property was bought by her brother-in-law John Vernon Thomas Lander. Three generations of the Lander family lived at Sunnycroft. J.V.T. Lander's granddaughter Joan bequeathed the estate to the National Trust in 1997.