Tackling Baldness with Bears Grease: an Unusual Find

Bears Grease pot from Wandle, with image of bear andIn early 2019, AOC carried out an evaluation and excavation in Croydon on behalf of Archaeology Collective and Brick by Brick. We found everything from Victorian terraced housing and post-medieval structures to potential prehistoric remains. Post-excavation work is ongoing, but the star find from the site is undoubtedly a small ceramic lid from a pot of ‘bears grease’. Bears grease was a product used to prevent baldness and stimulate hair growth between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. It was originally made largely from the fat of brown bears, but this was increasingly substituted for lard. Perfume was added to mask the smell. This particular product was made by Atkinson’s, a London perfumier that still exists today, although they no longer sell bears grease.