Found: 135-Year-Old Message in a Bottle

A message in a bottle might not arrive as fast as a text — but it remains far more memorable.

So much so that a Scottish plumber discovering one in a client’s floorboards became an international story from the BBC.

While cutting a hole in the floor of an Edinburgh home, Peter Allan, 50, found an empty 135-year-old whisky bottle with a message folded up inside.

Allan quickly realized that this was a time capsule from the Victorian era and rushed to tell the owners of the home. One of those owners, Eilidh Stimpson, had to smash the bottle to read the note inside, alongside her excited children.

Mr Allan told BBC Scotland he could not quite believe his luck in cutting into the floor directly above the bottle.

“The room is 10ft by 15ft and I have cut exactly around the bottle without knowing it was there,” he said. “I can’t quite believe it.”


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Una publicación compartida por BBC News (@bbcnews)


What does the note say?

Since the discovery on Monday, a friend of the family managed to investigate, the BBC reported. The friend checked names from the note in the 1881 census, and found that the men who wrote it lived just a few kiometres away, in the Newington area of Edinburgh.

“We were all crowding around and pointing torches at it and trying to read it, it was so exciting,” Stimpson said.

The note was signed and dated by the two male workers. It reads: “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.”

A curator at the National Library of Scotland recommended to the family that they preserve the note in an acid-free pocket, the BBC reported.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.