More of What the Doctor ordered, 1937

Wow. Well, my What the Doctor ordered post just, very quickly, became the most viewed post on my site ever. It’s all thanks to Stephen McGann retweeting it – he does play a smoking doctor on Call the Midwife, after all, and therefore the doctor-promoted cigarette advert was rather appropriate.

(This was extra brilliant because I’m such a big McGann fan in general.)

So, inspired by the last post, here’s a bit more smoking doctor stuff from the archives.

Of course, it took a while for the generally anti-smoking sentiment to catch on, especially with doctors. Here’s an article from 1922 where a doctor blames “cheap cigarettes” for a woman’s death, on account of the “large amount of paper used in their manufacture”, not the tobacco or anything. The doctor concluded “It was a great pity that women did not take to smoking pipes.”

The Western Gazette, 1922

The Western Gazette, 1922

But it wasn’t all pro-tobacco. “Is the tolerance of the habit shown by many doctors not owing in some measure to their own indulgence in the habit?” asked the Glasgow Herald in 1924.

The Motherwell Times, 1924

The Motherwell Times, 1924

And even in 1888, this “smokers are stupid” joke was printed:

The Cheltenham Chronicle, 1888

The Cheltenham Chronicle, 1888

And apropos of not much apart from the general cigarette atmos, here’s an advert for the smokers in adversity (advertsity?). It was 1941 and not only was the Blitz happening around you, you had to get by with less tobacco than usual. Here’s an advert being all keep calm and carry on about having to do with 20% less tobacco than before, and urging smokers to stick to their pre-war levels. So smoking must have increased considerably during the war. Understandably.

Portsmouth Evening News, 1941

Portsmouth Evening News, 1941

Anyway.

The volume of hits for the Kensitas cigarette advert inspired me to look a bit deeper into the advertising campaign that the brand ran in 1937. My original advert was from The Mirror, overseas edition, and was based on Kensitas’ statistic that 84% of London doctors who smoked preferred a mild cigarette. That is, as opposed to strong cigarettes, not to no cigarettes at all. It seems like a no brainer to be honest, but in 1937 this was obviously a bigger deal.

I had a nose around the British Newspaper Archive for some more of their adverts and found that there had been a quite extensive campaign. There’s a lot of images with stats for different places and there’s also quite an impressive number of stars of stage and screen lending their faces for the cause, not just Stanley Lupino as in my orignal ad.

I first found this one, in The Lancashire Daily Post. The singer and dancer Miss Binnie Hale is the face of this one, stating that 81% of Preston doctors (who smoked anyway) preferred mild cigarettes.

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

And next I saw this one, also with Binnie Hale, in The Yorkshire Daily Post. Here, um, 81% of Leeds doctors prefer a mild cigarette:

The Yorkshire Daily Post, 1937

The Yorkshire Daily Post, 1937

Now, I’m starting to smell 81% of a rat. Bit of a coincidence, innit?

But no, it turns out that it wasn’t 81% of doctors everywhere. It was, ooh, 81½% in Yorkshire as a whole, as George Robey says:

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

It was 88% in Liverpool, Miss Yvonne Arnaud tells us (Liverpool winning the most sensible doctors in the country competition, there. In a way):

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 1937

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 1937

77% of Angus doctors says Jeanne de Casalis:

Dundee Courier, 1937

Dundee Courier, 1937

I’m wondering if someone at Kensitas made a bit of a mix up with some of these ads now, the place names start to mismatch with the local newspapers.

I’m starting to get all a tizzy with the figures already – but now it gets more specific. Mere integers are not enough to express the data at this point.

It’s 87½% of Birmingham doctors says Winfred Shotter:

Lincolnshire Echo, 1937

Lincolnshire Echo, 1937

85¾% of Durham Doctors:

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1937

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1937

(I hope you’re not getting bored of all this)

83½% Edinburgh doctors says Joseph Hislop:

Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

(But I’ve become transfixed in the face of all these meaningless stats)

86¼% of Manchester doctors says Harry Roy:

Yorkshire Evening Post, 1937

Yorkshire Evening Post, 1937

It’s 75 and a third% of Belfast doctors says Will Hay (ooh, I’ve heard of him) (Oh, and bad show, Belfast, you have the hardest smoking doctors):

The Portsmouth Evening News, 1937

The Portsmouth Evening News, 1937

84¾% of Lancashire doctors says the delightful June:

Northern Daily Mail, 1937

Northern Daily Mail, 1937

Gearing up for the overall figures now. Getting exciting.

For the whole of England, it’s 84% announces Dame Sybil Thorndike (there’s some class):

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

The Lancashire Daily Post, 1937

For Scotland – 80¾%. according to John Loder:

Northern Daily Mail, 1937

Northern Daily Mail, 1937

And….drum roll…..for the entirety of Britain….it’s 83½%, as announced next to Gordon Harker:

Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1937

Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1937

Well, there wasn’t much point to all that. I think we have conclusively proved nothing. Except that quite a lot of doctors smoked in 1937.

Smoking.

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