Plumber finds 135-year-old message under floorboards

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plumber-finds-135-year-old-message-under-floorboards
Plumber finds 135-year-old message under floorboards

A woman was stunned after discovering a 135-year-old message in a bottle hidden underneath the floorboards in her home. The handwritten note had been rolled up inside an empty whisky bottle.

The Victorian time capsule was discovered by a plumber who just happened to cut through the exact place in the floorboards where it had been left. It later emerged it was written by the two worker who laid the floor on October 6, 1887.

Mum-of-two Eilidh Stimpson, a GP, told Edinburgh Live: “It’s pretty cool. And so lucky as well, because we were meant to be moving a radiator from one side of the wall to the other.

“The plumber came and started cutting a hole and said it was going to be a bit of a nightmare as there was a floor on top of a floor. Then he came down the stairs going, ‘look at what I just found in the hole I just made!’. It was quite exciting.”

Eilidh decided to wait until her two children, aged 8 and 10, got home from school before opening the cork on the bottle and reading what was inside. She said they were “super-excited” about the discovery.

She said: “When I picked them up from school I said ‘I’ve got the most exciting thing to tell you’ – to which they asked: ‘are we having hot dogs for tea?’ ‘More exciting than that,’ I said!

“My 8-year-old is actually learning about the Victorians right now, which is great.”

Once Eilidh’s partner got home from work, the family tried getting the message out of the bottle but in the end realised they were going to have to break the glass to avoid tearing the historic note.

Eilidh explained: “We were desperately trying to get the note out with tweezers and pliers, but it started to rip a little bit. We didn’t want to damage it further, so regrettably had to smash the bottle.”

Signed and dated by two male workers, the message read: “James Ritchie and John Grieve laid this floor, but they did not drink the whisky. October 6th 1887. Whoever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road.”

The note contained a message from the two workers who laid the floor in 1887

The bottle contained a message from the two workers who laid the floor in 1887

Intrigued to find out more about the workers, a friend of Eilidh’s conducted a bit of research and found that there were two men registered as living in the Newington area by the same names in the 1880s.

Plumber Peter Allan, who made the discovery, said: “It’s all a bit strange, but what a find! Where I cut the hole in the floor, is exactly where the bottle was located, which is crazy and so random.”

Eilidh has shared her family’s incredible find on social media. She said: “We’ve just been amazingly lucky, and I’m glad everyone thinks it’s as interesting as we do. It feels quite nice to have a positive news story amid all this doom and gloom that’s around at the moment.

“Now, I’m thinking we need to preserve the note and replace it with a message of our own for future generations to discover.”

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