Advertisement for 'Dr Joshua Webster's Cerevisia Anglicana'
Joshua Webster MD (c1709-1801), formulated his patent remedy
'Dr. Webster's diet drink', or 'Cerevisia Anglicana' in 1742. The
secret recipe was inherited by a Southwark wine merchant called
Samuel Slee whose descendants traded as Edward Slee and Co., based
at successive locations in the London area - Kennington, Lee,
Harlington and Hounslow.
The drink was marketed as a non-specific remedy of vegetable
composition. In reality the active ingredients included quicksilver
and sublimate of mercury. The medicine was sold directly from the
warehouse and through retail chemists, for one of whom this
advertisement was presumably designed. The liquid came in either
green or red bottles, both manufactured in a curious octagonal
shape, thus adding to the mystery of the recipe. The proprietors,
Edward Slee and Co., seem to have ceased trading shortly after the
turn of the 19th century.