The FMS Story
At the end of the 1800’s in the Black Country, Staffordshire many people spent their working lives underground in the coal mines. The physical trauma experienced often resulted in cuts, abrasions and burns leaving the wounds painful and infected.
Dr. Stewart, a local GP, found it was difficult to treat them successfully with what was available at the time. Tired of seeing the suffering of his patients Dr. Stewart started a quest to find a solution, a skin cream that would both calm and soothe. He spent years investigating and testing before finally formulating a salve that would prove to be an ‘incredible skin cream’.
It was not long before people from all over the country were asking for his ‘Miracle Cream’.
Eventually Dr Stewart passed away and with him, it appeared, also his formula.
From old letters we can follow what happened next and how Dr. Stewart’s granddaughter, Florence Mary found the formula and started to once again produce the ‘Miracle Cream’.
The following letter is from Miss Hilda, a friend of Florence, who at the age of 75 outlines how she became involved with the ‘Miracle Cream’. At this stage Miss Hilda had been making what was then called F.M.S Skin Cream for around 40 years and before her death, being the only person on earth who knew the formula, wrote the following letter.
“This is the story of F.M.S (the missing ‘Miracle Cream’) and how it came to me, it is very interesting and many people want me to write about it and the wonderful cases it has helped. I say I will write, but I write badly and have little time for writing really. I am not one of those people who can stick at it, burning the marvelous oil some people can get for midnight work.
“When I was at the hospital dispensing, a pupil came to train at the pharmacy. She was about 35. A bit old to study perhaps, but she came from a clever family passing her exam first attempt. Her grandfather had been a doctor in the village where I was born and this made me very interested in the way it all works. He was renowned in his day for a famous ointment, which only he knew what the contents were. Miss Stewart, medically minded, began to look for her grandfathers books to find the famous ointment. To put it briefly she found it, and began to make it and use it. Anyone in the village was treated and many were helped. When she had cured the police sergeant’s wife of face acne, (she had not gone out for 12 months because she was so sensitive about it) he advised her to put it on the market so that other people could buy and use it. She asked what she could call it and her brother said – FMS, her own initials. I often wish there was F.M.S in every home to be used at once on burns, scalds and bruises etc, it is a fantastic cream for many problems.
“I feel it is a gift from God and I have enjoyed making and using it on so many people.” – Hilda M Jones
“P.S. I forgot to say Florence and I became close friends and before she died she asked me to go on making F.M.S, telling me the contents only 3 weeks before she died.”
So Florence, who died before her time, had passed the secret formula for the ‘Miracle Cream’ to Hilda. It is interesting to note that Nurse Florence lived in an old Victorian house surrounded and hidden by many trees. During the years she made her secret skin cream she was seen going down to a tunnel under her house, folks thought that somewhere down that dark tunnel lay the secret ingredient that she added to her formula!
Nurse Stewart made the medication, which was a rich orange in colour and smelling of boot polish, and it was put into silver tins of varying sizes. Many young boys and girls would be taken to her home to buy the ointment, among them being Rachel Cooper. Rachel wrote in to the Black Country Bugle some years ago to tell of a childhood trip she made to see Nurse Stewart with her mother.
Due to constantly falling down, Rachel suffered from sore knees that stubbornly refused to heal, and in desperation her mother took her to see Nurse Stewart one winter’s night. In those days, street lights were few and far between, and the house looked very forbidding as Rachel and her mother approached it. After groping their way in the darkness to the back of the house, they were shown into the kitchen, which served as a combined surgery and dispensary. Nurse Stewart administered her mystery salve, and within a few days Rachel was amazed to discover that it did indeed work like magic!
Another customer, Davina Elcock emailed us with another amazing story recently:”My mom (Brenda) aged 91 asked me to find out if I could get still get this product. She was so pleased when I found the product was still about after all these years and she began to tell me a story of when her mom (my grandma) used FMS and it’s wonderful uses going back to the early 1930s. Her mom found out about FMS initially because it was being made in Coseley where they lived at the time. She got the address of the maker and wrote to Nurse Stewart who made the ointment because it was her product. Not only did my grandma use it on herself she found it could also be used on her black cat called Blacky. One day he had been fighting and had the side of its face badly injured. The cat developed an abscess in the face from the injury. Finally the cat scratched a big hole in the side of its face, so grandma filled it with the FMS ointment and finally it healed without any scars. I thought you would want to hear a true story going back a long long time. What a wonderful product and so pleased we have found it again.”
Miss Hilda was concerned that again the secret, known only to her, could be lost when she too would pass away. From the following letter from Don Marsden-Ryle we can pick up the story.
“I was introduced to F.M.S as a child when my mother smothered my chest with F.M.S during the wintertime and the use of this cream continued way into my adult life for various reasons. This was because my mother was a friend of Miss Hilda; therefore it was second nature that F.M.S was used.
“During my professional life I further needed the use of F.M.S. Wondering what would finally happen to F.M.S when Miss Hilda dies, I was thrilled to receive a summons from her to present myself with the offer to pick up the gauntlet and continue with this wonderful cream, as her life was coming to an end. I picked it up with great pride and have cherished and protected it down to this time.” – Don Marsden-Ryle, 2004
For the next 40 years Don Marsden-Ryle has protected and produced this ‘Miracle Cream’ from his home in Devon. Instead of going down into tunnels under the house, he climbed into the attic and worked during the nights mixing and potting the natural ingredients to supply demand from all who heard about the famous F.M.S skin cream.
A close associate of Don’s, Dr. Mary Staggs, has used F.M.S for helping thousands of people over the last 25 years from her busy clinic in Southern Spain, knowing only that F.M.S was a totally natural blend of herbs and oils but never having knowledge of the formula. In 2005 Don Marsden-Ryle asked Dr. Mary to visit him in Devon as he was no longer able to travel. Here are Dr. Mary’s comments on that meeting.
“In the summer of 2005 Don asked if I would take the time and visit him at his home in Devon, England. My clinic is always booked 3 months in advance but it was a pleasure to allocate time to come and see Don at his request. What he had to tell me was a total surprise and a great honour. He wanted me to take over the protection and production of F.M.S Cream and keep it alive for the benefit of all the users which were spreading throughout the world.
“Don taught me everything he knew about the formula and the making of F.M.S. It was complex but the sequence and method could not change from the basics. Don is still overseeing the final result as the only person on earth alive who has made the cream up to this time.
“I travel extensively throughout the world and have the privilege to lecture on many forms of complimentary medicine. F.M.S is now being used in at least 22 countries. If only Dr. Stewart could see what he started for the miners of the Black Country and how someone with a spider bite in Australia or a burn in Bogotá would thank him in person if only he was here.” – Dr. Mary Staggs
We are pleased to continue to make this amazing product available to as many as possible. It’s not orange any more and it smells of the pine oil it contains (not boot polish!) but it is still the same product that has delighted people of multiple generations.