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The Medicine Chest

No. 254. 'Tabloid' Brand Medicine Chest (The Indian)



No. 254. 'Tabloid' Brand Medicine Chest (The Indian)

Is Part Of

Special Collections
Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research


A small medicine chest, listed as BC666, kept in the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the University of Cape Town. Roughly 15cm in height and depth, and 20cm in width, it is made of metal and painted black, with the words ‘Trade Mark’, 'Tabloid' and ‘Brand’ printed under the keyhole, on its front. Fitted with a brown leather strap and metal clasps, the case suggests easy portability and containment. Manufactured by Burroughs Wellcome & Co. in the 19th century, these travelling Tabloid brand medicine chests accompanied eminent explorers such as Stanley, Scott and Shackleton on their travels – and was a firm favourite amongst missionaries and explorers coming to Africa, seen as a tool to combat ‘tropicality’. This particular chest belonged to Walter Floyd, a dentist born in Kent, who opened a practice in Cape Town in 1904, and bought it for a hunting trip he made to (then) Northern Rhodesia in 1913.

Access Rights

Currently locked away in Strongroom 3 in the UCT Jagger Library. Prior appointment to the library staff needed in order to view the object. Object should be handled with gloves, and a form signed in order to take any photos of it.


Burroughs Wellcome & Co.

Date Created





UCT Special Collections - BC666
Burroughs Wellcome & Co.1925. ‘Tabloid’: brief medical guide for explorers, missionaries, travellers, colonists, planters and others. London: Burroughs Wellcome & Co.




Nina Liebenberg

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