Well, our piece on the ‘quack markets’ of Bradford, where unlicensed practitioners of often rather dubious medical practices plied their trade, has certainly captured your imagination and, we hope, raised a few chuckles along the way.

We are indebted to Dr Christine Alvin, who gets in touch with more information and is more than qualified to treat our need for more quackery here, as she has, in the past, written a scholarly thesis on the subject.

So we submit ourselves to Dr Alvin, who writes: “There were always so-called quack markets in Bradford, especially in the 19th century when the majority of people of Bradford were poor and couldn’t afford to pay for even the cheapest of medical care. “There were several markets in the centre of Bradford – such as the Green Market and the Butter Market, and usually these would have a row of quack stalls that were semi-permanent, but also visiting quacks who toured from place to place (often clearing out very quickly when people realised that what they’d been offering was useless rubbish and that they’d wasted their hard-earned money). “There were also quacks who set up in temporary ‘consulting rooms’ in taverns – the papers were full of their adverts.

“James Burnley was a local journalist with the pseudonym ‘Saunterer’ who wrote pieces about the seedier side of 19th century Bradford, collected in Phases Of Bradford Life. “He wrote a very lively description of one of these markets – if you can find it (it’s in the Central Library I hope). It has some delightful quotes. “Also Wm Cudworth wrote about a ‘Quack Doctor’ in ‘Yorksher Speyks: Bradfurth Dialect Sketches’, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. He also wrote, in the same collection, about Fawthrop Fyrth, Bone Setter – a well-established Bradford quack, but one who actually undoubtedly helped a lot of people, in his own unique way. Quite a character, to say the least.

“Incidentally, the method of removing cataracts described by your correspondents was a time-honoured practise, though in this case, a particularly unhygienic one.”

Those of you who were here last week will recall that story – and if you missed it and you’re squeamish, look away now, because it did involve the supposed ‘professional’ licking the eyeball of the afflicted.

Dr Alvin explains further: “Basically it pushed the opaque cataract out of the way, and thus offered temporary relief, but the cataract would move back eventually. Better to go to a proper doctor and have it seen to properly! “But Bradford had a particularly bad record for harbouring all sorts of quacks and dubious therapists well into the 20th century, and the cataract-remover was among cancer-curers and others who did more harm than good other than in providing entertainment!”

Well, the eyeball licker and his coterie of quack friends has certainly done that. And, you know what they say, laughter is sometimes the best medicine…