The First Division of the Court of Session on 25th May 1938 disposed of an appeal from the Sheriff Court at Hamilton in an action by Mrs Annie Muir, residing with her husband at 1 Muir Street, High Blantyre, against Mrs Arabella Stewart, chemist, (Glasgow Road, Blantyre, for payment of £250 as damages in respect of injuries which the Mrs Muir sustained in the Mrs Stewart’s shop on May 8, 1936.
In the first instance another customer of Mrs Stewart’s was standing at the counter. He had entered a short time previously, and had asked the Mrs Stewart to supply him with a small quantity of nitric acid. Annie Muir had entered the Glasgow Road chemist shop also to make a purchase. When she handed the Mrs Stewart a bottle to contain acid she asked what the bottle had previously contained, and the male customer replied “Nitric acid.”
Mrs Stewart the chemist, without making any examination of the bottle, poured the nitric acid into and corked it. She said she would put a poison label on the bottle. On the face of it, she had not checked the contents and had taken the word of another customer as to what it had contained before passing it to Annie Muir.
Whilst Mrs Stewart was holding the bottle, the contents effervesced, the cork flew out, and part of the contents was thrown on to Mrs Annie Muir’s face, causing a burning injury to her right cheek, lucky to have not been in her eyes. Sheriff Substitute A. R. Brown found that Mrs Stewart was liable in damage, which he assessed at £50, and awarded the Mrs Annie Muir expenses, holding that the bottle, in the condition in which it was handed to the Mrs Muir, was not a suitable receptacle for nitric acid, and that if it had been cleaned by Mrs Stewart before she used it, the accident would not have happened.
A chemist exists at that location even today although is now the modern Lloyds chemist at the corner of Joanna Terrace and Glasgow Road.
(Source : Dundee Courier 26th May 1938. Stock Image typical 1930s chemist)