Amgueddfa Blog

Blog Homepage



There is an odd story attached to this little booklet. Some time ago, I received a telephone call from a lady offering to donate a catalogue from an old Cardiff herbalist. It sounded intriguing and something that would fit in perfectly at the library over at our sister museum St Fagans: Museum of National History, so we gratefully accepted the offer. A few days later, the Librarian and I were weeding through a pile of old booklets and we noticed an old Cardiff herbalist catalogue [date written in red ink - 29/11/29] and I remember saying how bizarre it would be if this was the same catalogue as the one that was on its way to us. Yes, you guessed it, it turned out to be exactly the same one! We ended up keeping both copies, placing one at the St Fagans library and keeping one here at National Museum Cardiff.

What exactly went into the herbal remedies is one mystery now most likely beyond solving [many of the ingredients are listed but not all] but it is the naive and whimsical wording of the ailments themselves that are so interesting to us now [Remedies for weak men and nervous women, Poverty of nerve force and That don't care sort of feeling spring to mind] and this naivity is illustrated further with the Disney-like wizard and his bubbling cauldron on the cover.

I have done a little research but, apart from a few scanned newspaper advertisements, have found no other information on Trimnell except for one of his old medicine bottles that sold recently on Ebay for £1.99 [see photograph below].

Glamorgan Archives hold some limited information on Trimnell but no actual documentation.

All photographs [except the Ebay one above] in this post taken by the author.

Jennifer Evans

Assistant Librarian


Jennifer Evans
10 May 2017, 10:08
Many thanks for your comment Grant Feltham!
I have just sent an email to and look forward to hearing from you again.
With very best wishes,
9 May 2017, 11:27
further to previous comment my e mail address has changed as of May 2017
31 December 2015, 19:20
I was amazed to find your blog following a search in Google Images for " Trimnell"

William James TRIMNELL is my 2nd cousin twice removed .... I have quite a few details on the family if you are interested but briefly...

He was born one of seven in 1870 in Freestone Road, Bristol. His father, William John TRIMNELL was a pedlar. By 1881, his parents had moved to Moira Terrace, Cardiff and set up business as a herbalist. By 1891, William James was helping in the business but there were later reports in the newspapers of bankruptcies and disputes between father & son.
William James was in the mental hospital, St Mary in 1911 and died at the age of 56 in 1926. His father lived till 1938.
James married Annie LITTLEHALES in 1899 and there were two daughters .

By coincidence a few weeks after I read your blog a copy of the booklet came up on e-bay so I am now the proud owner of an original.
I believe my copy dates from 1904 ish ..there is a reference to March 31st, 1904
and the Patent Medicine Act that introduced Stamp Duty on "all ailment named remedies" (page 60)

Now I have another family photograph as well ! Just a shame I missed the bottle when it came up on e bay

If you would like any other details do let me know....

Leave a comment