PS: RAPS 28 – A Well-Travelled Tin [guest-post]

[A guest-post by KatharineD]

This is a follow up to the story of the Lucas shrine Guylty made for Micra – it concerns the tin itself, and its ‘unexpected journey’.


A short while back I sent Guylty a package containing a number of tins, old and new, along with some craft items, after she kindly agreed to make a RAPS for me. I hadn’t had any suitable tins around the house myself, but I knew my mum was a prime candidate for having some stashed away- I really liked Guylty’s notion of using recycled items for the shrines. Mum’s been unwell lately, and this turned out to be a nice distraction for her from her various aches and pains, an unexpected side benefit to the whole fun adventure. Explaining what use a tin would be put to wasn’t quite so easy, although she has heard me speak more than once of ‘that English actor’ I follow!


Mum found one old tin for me straight away, and asked me to give her a day or so to see if she could uncover some more. She’s English, a small child during the Great Depression, and a school student during WWII, so the need to not waste useful items is deeply ingrained in her – she’s not exactly a collector, more of a keeper, you might say.


I was completely unsurprised when she rang me the next day to say she’d found some more old tins – would I like to have a look? I was delighted not just by the tins themselves, but their current contents as well –  a weird assortment of unusual haberdashery items dating back goodness knows how many years, some great old badges, and in another tin, old coins. We spent quite some time sorting through it all, with mum sharing anecdotes of the history of some of the items. She was more than happy to part with the tins, turfing all the contents into ordinary plastic containers, knowing that they would be put to good, (if somewhat confusing!) use. I made sure to keep mum updated on the packing of the parcel, the hurried repacking experience at the post office (!), and its (thankfully) successful arrival in Ireland, since she now had a vested interest in the whole endeavour.




The Cherry Cough Pastilles tin which houses Micra’s RAPS, came from England, made by British  company Warrick Brothers of London. Not much information to be had on the internet unfortunately, but I did find that they were a ‘pharmaceutical chemist and medicinal pastille manufacturer‘ from 1851 to 1966. They made all sorts of lozenges, tablets and capsules with ingredients you wouldn’t see today. The ingredients listed on the tin are a strange assortment – wild cherry bark, marshmallow, powdered ipecac, chloroform and squill, which I now know to be a medicinal plant. The things you learn!


I haven’t been able to date the tin exactly (I did find one that had been sold on eBay, but without details), but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been purchased in the early 1950’s by my dad in London. My late father was Australian, one of many who went to England in the fifties looking for adventure, wanting to see more of life than Australia had to offer at that time – he met my mum in London when they worked together in Southwark, got married in 1954, and sailed to Australia to start a life together and raise a family. So the well-travelled tin has sailed to Australia, flown to Ireland, and then taken its most recent shorter journey to Italy.


Thanks to Katharine for this write-up. It really tickles the historian in me to know more about the provenance of the tin, and I find its journey through the world quite astonishing. England – Australia – Ireland – Italy. That tin has seen more than I have 🙂

15 thoughts on “PS: RAPS 28 – A Well-Travelled Tin [guest-post]

    • Maybe that will come once those tins are presented? I have just finished Katharine’s order, and that tin is a beauty, too. You’ll see as soon as she has received it.


  1. Fantastic story Katherine! As Perry said, I’d like to know the story of the other tins. I love old objects, they keep their owners enclosed in them. I still have my sew necessaire in a metal box that was once an infant cookies box, my sister’s! My mom used it to put needles and spools, scissors and so on. I have two of them: the Mellin cookies is the older and it’s from 1950’s, when my sister was born. The second one, Plasmon cookies, is from 1960’s when I was born. To let these object live and be useful is an homage to the people that used them first.
    I’m honored to hold a tin probably owned by your father. Really honored. And Lucas feel at home there. Because you know, home is where people understand you. And love you. Thank you again! 🙂


  2. That is such a great story, stretches over time and involves so many lives. Thank you, Katharine, and your mum too! That tin has really seen the world. And I can’t help thinking how appropriate it is for its current content: Soothing and effective – yes he is. May be taken frequently as required – that’s exactly what we like to do… 😀


  3. What a lovely story Katharine, thank you for sharing. I love that the tin is so well travelled and that we now know the history attached to it. For me somehow it strengthens the connections we have made with each other through RA, if that makes any sense.
    I had to smile about you explaining to your mum the use the tin would be put to. 🙂


    • Guylty is aware that the RAPS she’s going to send me will be shown to a slightly wider audience, so she was keeping that in mind, but to be honest I’ll probably get weirder comments from the boys than I will from mum!


  4. Lovely reading all your comments, everyone.
    I wish I knew more about exactly when the tin was bought, but I think it’s good in a way that it’s lost in time- the tin has remained useful for sixty years, and has far outlived it’s original medicinal purpose. It’s origin is interesting, but that’s not its whole story, and the fact that it’s still around today to be put to new use, speaks highly of my mum’s, and Micra’s mum’s generation who wouldn’t dream of just discarding something that might well find a new purpose.

    I have to say, the tin is unaccustomed to being on display- it’s the shy, pragmatic type, only coming out of the cupboard when it’s contents were needed, so it may take a while to get used to this new found attention!


  5. My dad kept screws and nails and all sorts of stuff in old tobacco tins. Unfortunately they are not suitable for shrines as the lids come completely off. oh and my brother now has them and wont let me empty them LOL


  6. Thank you,Katherine, for sharing a bit of family and tin history. It is wonderful that the tin can be resurrected to serve another purpose. The contents are still just as soothing and comforting, though maybe a slight more stimulating and tasty. 🙂


  7. Pingback: RA Pocket Shrine 32/? – Mr Thornton Travels | GUYLTY PLEASURE

  8. re: Warrick Brothers tin

    Hello from Nice,
    The Warrick family started a business of essential oils and perfumes in Nice and Grasse. Traded under the name of Warrick Fréres in France and Warrick Brothers in London. They are buried in the Nice Caucade English cemeter – three generations of them. There is no more family or business remaining in France.
    JK in Nice


    • Hello JK – that is really interesting. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope KatharineD who wrote this guest-post, and Micra who owns the tin now, will read it, too.


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