I was sorry to learn of the passing of John Buckles. Although I have not had contact with John for some years, I have fond memories of our time together as apprentices with Timothy Whites and Taylors in Preston, in the early 1950s. John was the senior apprentice who acted as the ‘deputy apprentice master’. Even then, his abilities as a teacher came through. I well remember how he guided me, as a very raw recruit, through the complexities of the apothecaries’ system of weights and measures and introduced me to The Lancet as a source of medical information.
The pharmacy provided a very traditional service to the community, including the compounding of quite complex veterinary medicines and products for use on the farm. I well remember us making up products containing such toxic compounds as mercuric chloride, without great attention to health and safety. John was always very professional in his care of our customers. In those bygone days it was very common for members of the public to request “a draught” for some acute ailment. John used his knowledge of remedies of the time to produce a well received response to the symptoms presented. Colds were often “treated” with ammoniated quinine solution, which had a very bitter taste. I seem to remember we charged six old pence per draught.
I was not surprised to learn that John went into teaching after completing a higher degree: he always displayed a great love of science and a respect for learning, which benefited all those he came in contact with. Thank you, John.