Thomas Geering provides us with a glimpse inside the shop where Mrs Gearing worked. It really makes me hope that I can prove that she is 6x great-grandfather, because it provides a glimpse into the life and workplace of an ancestor, that is rarely seen.
From the street outside, the High Street in Hailsham, Sussex we find that
The front of the house was shut off from the public road by a brick wall, and a gate had to be opened to gain admittance to the shop door.
The shop front featured a window
One small bottle of blue liquid was the only show in the window, across which, reaching about half-way up, stretched a faded green blind, which also added to the melancholy of the interior.
Entering the shop
The door creaked on its hinges, and the floor beneath the feet yielded to the weight as one entered, showing cracks and holes which led one’s thoughts to the cellar; but our dear old lady regarded none of these as blotches. She, her shop and the contents had all grown old together.
The shop had a counter
At the window end of the counter were three slots, or slits, into which dipped the three ointment and plaster knives, which knives were of varying sizes and lengths, to suit the work to be done.
It was apparently plainly decorated
If not poor, it was meagre to a degree, pots, jars, and bottles all being of the plainest pattern. There was a good array for number, but I have always supposed many to have been dummies.
Some of the bottles were labelled
POISON might be read in plain English on a few bottles and jars, to impress her visitors, we will suppose, with a dread of her power; while “Paregoric” and “Soothing Syrup” show in faded gold, to give confidence and to show all was not lost, nor hope entirely fled. The majority of the labels were covered with a mysterious combination of letters, too learned for the general public, but which served to strengthen our faith and to give reverence and confidence to the one, and the only one, person who could unravel their meaning.
But it wasn’t just bottles and jars
There was also a department for dolls and wooden horses, and the house of the cruel, weather-wise old man who would turn his wife out of her door when it rained and keep in himself, had a place on her shelves.
Now sadly the druggist’s shop has gone
Our old druggist’s shop, with the small front sitting-room which the Captain occupied, has now for the last fifteen years been turned into a bookseller’s shop, and the place altogether has undergone a complete transformation. New windows, fittings, counters, etc., have replaced the very old ones.