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135-year old message in a bottle has been found under floorboards

Jake Massey

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135-year old message in a bottle has been found under floorboards

A plumber was given a shock when he removed a floorboard and unearthed a bottle containing a 135-year-old message.

Peter Allan was working on a house in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Monday (14 November) and needed to move a radiator, so he cut a hole in the floor to locate pipework - and ended up finding the whisky bottle, containing the rolled up note.

Excited, naturally, the 50-year-old rushed downstairs to to tell the owner.

Peter - who owns WF Wightman Plumbing - said it was discovered under what would have been a maid's room when the house was first built.

"The room is 10ft by 15ft and I have cut exactly around the bottle without knowing it was there. I can't quite believe it," he told BBC Scotland.

Not a normal plumbing discovery. Credit: Peter Allan
Not a normal plumbing discovery. Credit: Peter Allan

"I was moving a radiator and cut a random hole to find pipework and there it was, I don't know what happened. I took it to the woman downstairs and said 'Look what I've found under your floor.'"

Mum-of-two Eilidh Stimpson managed to resist reading the message until her children - aged eight and 10 - got home from school.

Fair play, that's discipline - some people can hardly resist tearing open an Amazon package while it's halfway through the letterbox.

"When I picked them up I told them I had something really exciting to tell them and they said 'Is it that we are having hot dogs for tea?'" the GP recalled.

"They had a few more guesses and then I told them a message in a bottle had been found in our house and they were really excited and thought it was maybe treasure."

Initially, they attempted to prise the letter out with tweezers, but it started to tear.

Keen to preserve the letter, more so than the bottle, Eilidh decided to smash it with a hammer.

"I feel absolutely terrible breaking a 135-year-old bottle but it was the only way to reach the note," she said. "I've kept all the pieces in a Tupperware tub.

"We were all crowding around and pointing torches at it and trying to read it, it was so exciting."

They were eventually able to decipher that the message had been written by a couple of blokes who had been working there in the 19th Century.

It read: "James Ritchie and John Grieve laid this floor, but they did not drink the whisky. October 6th 1887. Who ever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road."

I reckon James and John did drink the whisky. Credit: Eilidh Stimpson
I reckon James and John did drink the whisky. Credit: Eilidh Stimpson

The National Library of Scotland has since recommended that they preserve the note in an acid-free pocket, and it will take pride of place in the home.

They're also planning on putting a new note along with a transcription of the original in a bottle in the same place before the hole is covered.

Eilidh said: "I've ordered some pockets and think ultimately we will frame the note with a piece of the bottle such as the neck because it's such an exciting and lovely thing to have.

"To think it lay there all that time and could have been there forever is just amazing. It's not from just the 70s or something like that, it's so much older, it's very cool."

Featured Image Credit: Peter Allan/Eilidh Stimpson

Topics: UK News, Weird

Jake Massey
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