Big thank you from

There could be `verse' ways to sell products

The two Holloway ointment pots showing the firm's address

The two Holloway ointment pots showing the firm's address at 533 Oxford Street, London. This allows us to date them between 1868 -1881.

WHEN two little ointment pots turned up recently I was delighted and I added them to my collection of old bottles and jars. I had been looking for a Holloway ointment pot for some time.

The brand-name 'Holloway' is almost out of living memory now, however our ancestors living in the Lisburn district and beyond would have been well aware of the product.

Holloway's were one of those companies who embarked on an advertising campaign and never missed out in appearing in most of the early editions of the local Lisburn Herald or Standard.

I noticed an advert in the Belfast Newsletter in July 1857 advertising Holloway Pills which were for sale "at the establishments of Professor Holloway". Their products included both pills and ointments.

Holloway's were in existence from the early 1840s until at least 1935. In 1886 Holloway's pills claimed to be the "Great household medicine" that "ranks amongst the leading necessaries of Life" and the healing properties of the ointment were known throughout the world.

In 1891 Holloway's Pills were being advertised claiming to regulate and strengthen nerves - "Nausea, headache, giddiness, numbness and mental apathy yield to them all".

"For irritable bowels just diligently rub the ointment over the stomach and liver every night and morning." The print on the ointment pots inform us that Holloway's is for the cure of gout and rheumatism, inveterate ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads and bad legs.

The Holloway trademark includes the logo "Never Despair". What's that saying? - Good things come in small packages!

One of the advertising ploys in the late 19th century was to use verse and rhyme to catch the eye of the reader. Holloway was no exception.

The Lisburn Standard in September 1891 carried four verses of rhyme promoting their ointment titled "An old friend with a new face...". Another 47 lines of poetry titled "Elaine's Secret" were used to promote the pills and ointment. If that didn't catch your attention then perhaps the follow-up one, which contained 26 lines of verse, might.

It was titled "Instructive alphabet." No surprise then that the first letter in the first word of line began with "A" ...

'Attacks of pain, which rack amain
By Holloways pills you can restrain..."

They managed to take the prose through to the letter "Z":-

"You try the pills and ointments too
Zealously, and you'll never rue."

The following verse and variants of the same constantly popped up in the Lisburn Standard and Herald during the period 1891 and 1905.

"I always buy my boots and shoes
At Harvey's in the Square
The right place you should also choose
And always purchase there."

The proprietor responsible for the Victorian advert was Thomas J Harvey who sold boots and shoes at Marke Square, Lisburn. He was residing at 43 Seymour Street in the late 1880s.

James Cherry, who had the drapery business at 79 Bow Street, Lisburn placed the following in the Lisburn Standard in 1905.

"Cherry's pants have stood the test
His customers can show
His suits they are the very best
And prices they are low'`

James Cherry won a first class diploma of merit from the tailor and cutting academy, Drury Lane, London on September 5th 1891.

Abraham Neill, 'Castalia' Mills, Belfast tried to tempt local farmers in the Lisburn Herald that same year with the following prose:

"My! How Johnston's Calves are thriving
Big and fat with healthy skin
But, in spite of all my striving
Mine keep stunted poor and thin
Mine might just as fat have been
Had they been fed on EOLINE"

Samuel McConnell, the proprietor of the Golden Eagle Tea-House, listed at Market Square, Lisburn in 1886 went a step further than the simple advertisement promoting his tea, flour, groceries and weavers' utensils.

He placed an advert in the Lisburn Standard in July of that year promoting tea drinking. A poem comprised of eight verses commences with the promotion of tea drinking appeared. The advertisement continued by encompassing the Temperance movement and used phrases including "away with King Alcohol", loyalty to Queen Victoria and "away with Home Rule". Those were the big issues of that period in Lisburn.

There are a further ten lines of prose titled "A warning voice from the lower regions to all drinkers".

Even during the Second World War the Ministry of Food in London issued the following in the local Lisburn Herald in 1942, in a regular feature -"This week's Food Facts". The advice contained in the article was giving housewives guidance on rationing and food preparation.

"Plan your points and obey the rules
Just as you did with your football pools
You'll find yourself an up - and - upper
At breakfast, dinner, tea and supper!"

The Ministry of Food would not be a popular department though. They were to issue the order for the rationing of sweets and chocolates from 27th July 1942. Of course there were always ways and means round this one!

If all else failed to get the attention of the reader and potential customer, then just resort to what one advertiser did in The Lisburn Standard in 1886, and have the advert placed "upside down"!

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