Sunday, 14 February 2010

From Chemist to Pharmacy

An old sign that I saw yesterday in Nunhead...reminded me that Chemists, or Dispensing Chemists, no longer call themselves Chemists. I'm not quite sure if it happened all at once or slowly over a period of time any self-respecting chemist is now a pharmacist. This sign - on Evelina Road at the top of St Mary's Road, SE15 - Green(-e or -es?) Chemist had been established over 50 years when it was painted. Today it calls itself a Pharmacy. No change in use over the years, but a subtle change in terminology. Perhaps it avoids moments of temporary confusion at dinner parties when a dispensing chemist gets introduced as a chemist and the intellectual guest starts asking questions about the periodic table. Perhaps it simply sounds more formal - the medical profession are a little prone to choosing the most imposing title they can. I had an unresolved kidney problem, but I didn't get referred to a kidney doctor, nor even a renalogist (which I would have understood). No, it had to be a nephrologist - a title very few punters will readily grasp.

The Bakery photo in yesterday's post, became a Duncan's Chemist, now it too is a Pharmacy.
Meanwhile, back to Nunhead. Green's chemist-cum-pharmacy has another sign painted up over its entrance.
The end of ''Nunhead'' is still visible, as is the postcode, SE15, down on the bottom right. It seems to read ''Nunhead nr St....'' and I thought perhaps it could have been the nearby St Mary's. But, because there is an overlay of different writing - for example, the word ''OFFICE'' is legible on the lower level and the ST seems just a little too big, I'm inclined to think it was simply ''ST'' for Street. What appears to be a B at the start of the second line, could quite conceivably be a P - was it once, a Post Office? All in all, the still-discernible letters seem to give an obviously false message:


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