Handyside’s Consumption Cure
Handyside’s Consumption Cure
George Handyside, Newcastle upon Tyne,
Dark Green-Black Glass Square Medicine
Provenance: Bob Jochums Collection
George Handyside was an amazing but private man who had a very successful career. He was born in Newton-on-the-Moor, Northumberland, England in 1821 and was the son of a working father who he did not remember.
Handyside’s early youth was difficult as he was brought up by his mother under humble circumstances. When he was 16 years old, when most others his age were being schooled, George started using his considerable natural gifts and moved to Berwick-upon-Tweed to commence business as a boot and shoe manufacturer. He increased the modest business from small beginnings, moved to larger premises, and soon blossomed as one of the principal merchants in this line. Berwick, at this time, had stagecoaches running through the quaint streets with no railroad or even a bridge spanning the River Tweed that connected England and Scotland. The port was of considerable importance, and fleets of wooden ships lay alongside the quays.
Now in his early 20s, Handyside had built a profitable shoe business and was looking for new conquests. He opened the same business in Dean Street, Newcastle, and having learned the secret of success, Handyside expanded the parent shop in every likely retail center in the region. He became his own tanner and currier and passed the local tradesman stage to that of a national footwear manufacturer and dealer. He reversed the generally accepted axiom that success faces the south, and soon his branch shops were dotted throughout Scotland from Newcastle to Aberdeen and numbered close to 50. Handyside boots were familiar to everyone. He would continue in this line of business for most of his life.
While most men would have been content with running such a large business, George Handyside shifted his remarkable talent and diversified into a field so utterly unlike the previous one that it defies logic. He would become a chemist and proprietor of wonderful medicines, which included his “Handyside’s Consumption Cure.”
Our feature example of a square Handyside’s Consumption Cure is 10 ¾ inches tall by 2 ¾ inches wide at the broadest point. The black glass is actually a very dark green. The slightly tapering sides are similar in the form to a tall spirits gin bottle. There are three recessed chamfered panels with bold embossing on the front panel that reads, shoulder to base, ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ in two lines of sans serif copy. The fourth smooth panel was reserved for a long-lost paper label. There is an unusual and distinctive eight-sided neck with a crudely applied double tapered collar. The base is smooth with an indented circle. Handyside bottles come in a variety of sizes and glass colors and typically display nice character as far as crudity and acceptable glass imperfections.
The Consumption Cure was placed in the market and pushed with the same energy as marked Handyside’s original ventures. The cure attained a considerable reputation and became known throughout the country, no doubt yielding additional revenue to his growing fortune. The preparation was one of Handyside’s own. He sold it for 5s 6d for two bottles. He was also selling his Handyside’s Rheumatic Lotion and Handyside’s Blood Purifier.
George Handyside understood the power of advertising and was considered a pioneer in this field, using considerable originality in his pictorial placards, which were often full of ideas and convincing in their methods. One of his posters in the boot business caused considerable amusement and made people talk, which was an indication of its value. It was a representation of a boot, much the worse for wear, and underneath were the words, applicable to men as to leather, “It’s never too late to mend.” And equally well known was the poster that proclaimed the virtues of the “Consumption Cure.” It was allegorical and depicted a crowd of feeble people on their way to a bridge that landed them healthy and happy on the other side of the stream when crossed. The bridge was marked as “Handyside’s Consumptive Cure.”
By 1855, George Handyside had moved to Elswick in Newcastle and started to invest in property. He began by building houses in the city’s west end and then built 16 shops on Newbridge Street. He developed, bought, and sold other buildings, always making a profit. At one point, he developed 50 houses or so .
His biggest project occurred near his death when he developed plans for an arcade on Percy Street containing no less than 95 shops. The arcade took the form of a horseshoe with entrances on Percy Street and Leazes Lane. A glazed roof would enclose the street of shops. The arcade was like a hobby to George Handyside, who gave personal supervision to every detail of the construction. “As early as 9:00 a.m., the old white-haired man might be seen going over the building, altering here, suggesting there, and encouraging the young men to greater application. He worked till the bell rang, and the master and laborer left the job together.”
Sadly, George Handyside died before completion, but after his death, the development became known as “Handyside Arcade.”
Primary Image: Handyside’s Consumption Cure bottle imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support Image: Picture of George Handyside from a large flask that used to reside in the Handyside Arcade office, Newcastle upon Tyne. Now held at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.
Support Image: Auction Lot 49: HANDYSIDES CONSUMPTION CURE BOTTLE. 10.9ins tall, dark bluey aqua glass, lightly tapering square shape with three indented panels. Very crude octagonal neck with chunky applied collar lip. Front panel embossed vertically HANDYSIDES/ CONSUMPTION CURE. Extremely crude manufacture and full of tiny seed bubbles. In manufacture burst lip but is generally very good. A rare variant. – Alan Blakeman, BBR Auctions, September 2021
Support Image: Auction Lot 118: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ An appealing cure in the shape of a tall sauce bottle from this popular north eastern vendor. Applied BIMAL lip. Full surface sheen. c1880-1890’s, Height: 180mm, Width: 46mm. Superb overall condition with just the odd tiny superficial and very insignificant mark on the surface of the glass which in no way detracts and is otherwise mint. – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
Support Image: Auction Lot 119: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ A truly fabulous aqua cure with literally hundreds of tiny seed bubbles throughout. Similar to lot #119 in being in the shape of a tall sauce bottle from this popular north eastern vendor of cures etc. Applied BIMAL lip. Full surface sheen. One of the most aesthetically pleasing bottles I have handled in a very long time. It really has to be seen in the flesh to appreciate how all the bubbles totally transform this bottle. c1880-1890’s Height: 177mm, Width: 46mm. Excellent Superb condition (with just the usual in-manufacture expansion lines/crackling running around inside the neck (below the lip) that as can be seen in the photos in no way detract). – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
Support Image: Auction Lot 120: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ A large 10.75″ black glass (very dark green) cure from this popular north eastern vendor of elixirs. Tapering sides. Similar to lot #121 in being in the form of a tall spirits/gin bottle. Unusual and distinctive 8-sided neck. Three recessed panels with bold embossing on the front one. Crudely applied BIMAL lip. Original surface sheen. c1870-1890’s. Height: 275mm, Width across shoulders: 74mm. Excellent. Superb overall condition (with just a totally insignificant light scratch on the back panel and a very small film of patchy dullness on the of the rear corner panels which of course in no way detracts and is otherwise mint). – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
Support Image: Auction Lot 121: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ Another large 10.75″ cure from this popular north eastern vendor of elixirs, this time in a nice dark aqua glass with many tiny bubbles/tears in the glass. Tapering sides. Similar to lot #120 in being in the form of a tall spirits/gin bottle. Also has an unusual 8-sided neck. Three recessed panels with above wording embossed on the front one. Crudely applied BIMAL lip. Original surface sheen. c1870-1880’s. Height: 275mm, Width across shoulders: 75mm, Very good Great overall condition with just two tiny insignificant white inclusions on the base edge (on the side) which have a caused a very minor small (14mm) cloudy internal bruise (mostly hidden from side view and not at all visible on display), some minor internal contents haziness on one side and part of the front and the odd tiny superficial mark/scuff on the surface of the glass which are hardly worth mentioning as all pretty insignificant. – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
Support Image: Auction Lot 122: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ Another fabulous coloured cure from this popular north eastern vendor of elixirs. Similar to the other lots in being in the form of a tall sauce bottle, but a stunning and appealing peach amber colour with fabulous darker amber striations/streaks throughout (with a very unusual lighter honey amber applied lip too!). Original surface sheen. Scarce and desirable in this colouration. Totally unique opportunity! c1880-1890’s. Height: 185mm / Width: 46mm. Excellent. Superb undamaged condition (with just some totally insignificant and very small patches of light dullness in places, but nothing at all untoward). – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
Support Image: Auction Lot 118: ‘HANDYSIDE’S CONSUMPTION CURE’ Yet another appealing coloured cure from this popular north eastern vendor of elixirs. Similar to the other lots in being in the form of a tall sauce bottle, but this 8″ example being slightly taller. Fabulous black glass (very dark green) example with bold embossing. Crudely applied BIMAL lip. Original surface sheen. c1870-1890’s. Height: 205mm / Width: 46mm. Excellent. Superb overall condition (with just a totally insignificant tiny (1mm x 3mm) light scuff on the front panel edge at the top which in no way detracts and is otherwise mint). – AA Auctions Ltd. | Auction #14
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