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This Britain

Minor British Institutions: Victory V lozenges

It's hard to fathom which is the biggest mystery: why the fiery taste of Victory V lozenges seems to have almost disappeared from the nation's gobs – or why these odd concoctions were ever popular in the first place.

Still churned out for a small but devoted band of asbestos-mouthed fans, the Victory V has a long history. The lozenges were, indirectly, inspired by Admiral Nelson's famous ship, having been named at a pub called the Nelson Inn which was – you guessed it – in the Lancashire town of Nelson.

It was there in 1864 that a confectioner named Thomas Fryer created his palliative for the common cold by combining pulverised sugar, linseed, liquorice, chlorodyne (a soothing mix of cannabis and chloroform) and pure acacia gum. It met with acclaim.

In 1880 the Victory Works were opened and by the 1920s the Victory V had gone global. Yet today you'd be hard-pressed to find one. Maybe it's because they've dropped the dope. For the record, they are nowadays made by Ernest Jackson & Co Ltd of Devon and cost about 75p a pack.