The Ardross-man


May 2017

Converted churches

There is something really wonderful about a church building in floodlight – maybe even magical.

Take a look at Fenstanton St. Peter & St. Paul parish church bathed in colour and you’ll get what I mean –


Or maybe Fenton St. Mary’s church in the more traditional white spotlight-

I just think that a church lit up at night, whether in colour or in white light, is something a bit special, don’t you agree?


 img_2067  img_2065

I wonder what the Barony St. John church building would look like all lit up?

Spectacular, I think.

Inside, the Barony St. John is the wonderfully grand church organ –


Now here is the organ in St. Luke’s in Glasgow, the former church which has now been converted into an Events Centre –


You must admit, there are similarities – but here is St. Luke’s organ backlit with lights and hosting a music event –


Looks pretty cool doesn’t it?

And here is our floor area –


And here is St. Luke’s with the pews taken out and set up for a wedding –


St. Luke’s also have a bar which can be lit in colours to match bridesmaids’ dresses or any colour scheme and matches the lights at the organ –


Now how cool is that?

Wouldn’t the Barony St. John look superb if it had this makeover?

Well, it may well do – and it’s could be up to you. We are asking for your opinion in a Survey Monkey to determine what the Barony St. John buildings could be transformed into. So for your say on what we should do with them, simply log into and give us your opinion.

Many thanks 😀

Crystal clear

After what seems like an eternity, the windows in the Training Room have been completed – and they look fab!

Here is what they looked like before –

The wood was rotten (in fact one of the arched windows fell out when we removed the plaster work around it) and every pane was a different type of glass – frosted, clear, opaque, patterned with dimples, patterned with ridges, tinted, mottled – you name it, it was here.


The wooden windows are exact copies of what was there before even down to the small square opening segment in the middle of the square windows.


With a new coat of paint, the new windows look absolutely fabulous compared to the old, rotten ones.


Now we need to focus on the metal protective covering which is on the outside wall of each window.


These are badly rusted and damaged causing rust to flow down the external stonework so they need removed, de-rusted, repaired and re-painted – if that’s possible. If not, they’ll need replaced.

Onwards and upwards. 😀

Victorian Adverts 2 – Cure-alls

In a previous post (Victorian Adverts 1) I described some advertisements found in a pamphlet dated May 1893 which was rescued from some fallen masonry from the gallery area of Barony St. John’s church.

Some of the adverts were for magical cure-all medicines which seem to be favoured by the Victorians.

The first cure-all is Mellin’s Emulsion which the advert says was a mix of Cod liver oil and Hypophosphites (whatever they are) which was “very palatable“, “easily digested” and thankfully “perfectly safe“.

Mellin’s Food for Infants and Invalids  is described as “For infants, growing children, convalescents, consumptives, dyspeptics and the aged. A perfect nutriment in acute illnesses and all wasting diseases.”

I also managed to find this old coloured advert from 1880 on the internet for the emulsion –

img_2325  mellins

And these pages from an 1891 booklet to accompany Mellin’s Food for Infants and Invalids.


Another product advertised is Smedley’s Chillie Paste  claimed to cure Rheumatism, Gout, Lumbago, Bronchitis, Sore Throats, Neuralgia and Sciatica among other illnesses.

It contained oils from chilli peppers and although chillies had been used to treat inflammation for over a century in the USA, the chilli was still very much a novelty in Victorian Britain.

Smedley’s Chillie Paste was so popular that it later became known as “The King of all Cures” (once Edward VII came to the throne upon the death of Queen Victoria in 1901) as this colour advert I found on the internet shows –

img_2323  smedley

Lascelles’ Pills seemed to be taken “for the most obstinate cases” if the chilli paste didn’t work so I dread to think what might be in them. :-/

Allcock’s Porous Plasters also intrigued me and my investigations showed that Thomas Allcock (1815–1891) was the inventor (in 1854) and subsequent founder of the Allcock Manufacturing Company.

Thomas, although born in Birmingham, England, emigrated to the USA in 1845, settled in New York and opened a drug store. He was later called up and served as an artillery officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

I love the heading on my advert which says “Here you have a remedy that has made millions of ladies bless the maker of Allcock’s Porous Plasters” 😀 and this alternate advert which I found (on the left) which says that Allcock’s Porous Plasters can cure almost anything and could even be used to stop a cough. 🙂

img_2319  allcocks

Symington’s Edinburgh Coffee Essences were produced in bottles alongside Symington’s Dandelion Coffee Essence by Thomas Symington & Co. of Edinburgh around 1880 which ties in with the 1893 date of this pamphlet.

img_2328    crop

Symington’s coffee essences preceded the more popular and still going Camp Coffee in bottles produced by Robert Paterson of Glasgow from 1897 onwards.

Thomas Symington’s posters advertised that by adding boiling water to his essence, you could have “a cup of coffee in one minute” – the world’s first instant coffee.

Between 1880 and 1890, the Victorians recognised that the caffeine in tea and coffee could cause an increase in heart rates as well as stomach upsets and sleeplessness so Thomas Symington rose to the challenge and developed an alternative hot drink using dandelion roots –Symington’s Dandelion Coffee Essence.

The health benefits of dandelion coffee were promoted as almost a cure-all aiding everything from stomach upsets to gout and even bad tempers. 🙂

Both Symington’s products were sold throughout the British Empire and into the USA, winning many medals and prizes for their exceptionally high quality along the way.

Symington’s continued to be sold until 1975 when the company was acquired by G R Lane Health Products and is apparently still available today from specialist health stores.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑