By Georgina Jeyes
Jeyes of Earls Barton
EVERY day is a school day at The Jeyes Heritage & Pharmacy Museum in Earls Barton.
A simple question - 'What do you use Jeyes Fluid for?' has led to a wealth of fascinating stories - we have listened and learnt.
To disinfect drains, stables, bins and greenhouses and keep roses bug-free, seem to be the obvious, but that is just the beginning.
I met a man who gargled with it on the high seas in the 50s, another who washed his socks in it (glad I am not married to him!). Anthony Jeyes used it to keep moles away at Holly Lodge, and badgers don't like the smell either, while ants in Australia and snakes in South Africa are kept in check. The trenches in the First World War were swilled with it (Although the twist in the tale is that the brand is now owned by Henkel of Dusseldorf). Today, court cases are ongoing in Scotland as care-homes could be found 'guilty' of putting it in the baths many years ago. Maybe it did more good than harm.
The uses of Jeyes toilet paper in those cardboard boxes have been numerous too. Apart from the obvious, it was used as baking paper, for school tracing, wrapping around a comb to make music (though it did make your lips tingle) but the best of all goes to the father of our current, charming Mayoress, Jane. Being a musketeer he would fill the barrel with Jeyes' carefully rolled paper, then gunpowder, then more paper for the perfect shot. The modern, soft stuff is useless, showering paper confetti everywhere.
By the way I am still searching for a metal wall Jeyes loo paper holder - I saw one in Cornwall years ago but didn't have a screwdriver in my handbag at the time!
We are always listening to our visitors and enjoy their stories - we are never too old to learn. Every day really is a school day at Jeyes.
For those who want to find out more, the museum has just been relaunched in a special ceremony in July when invited guests saw the Mayor of Northampton Tony Ansell cut the ribbon.
Open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Sat 8.30am to 5pm, closed Sunday and Bank Holidays.