It is rare that you will find an old house which doesn’t hold a few secrets of their own. These mysteries usually emerge with chance and time over the years.
A plumber named Peter Allan from Scotland made such a mysterious discovery while he was working on the heating pipes on a house. There he discovered an antique bottle secreted beneath the floorboards. Residents of the house, Eilidh Stimpson opened the bottle which revealed a fascinating note written in 1887.
Long hidden under the floor, this message in a bottle is one of the oldest known to have been discovered. In an interview with BBC Scotland, Allan explained, “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. 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.'”
Making the discovering of the intriguing bottle, Stimpson, who owns the Edinburgh house with her husband and children, decided to wait until the young ones came home from school to investigate the bottle. The children were delighted at the surprise, but, as the mother explains, “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?'”
Stimpson and her family tried to removed the old curled up paper from the bottle with a tweezer which soon came to the conclusion that it was damaging the fragile paper. They eventually decided to break the bottle with a hammer, although they were sure to keep the pieces. “We were all crowding around and pointing torches at it and trying to read it, it was so exciting,” said Stimpson. T
The note 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.”
Stimpson plans to preserve the note in an acid-free pocket so it can be enjoyed for years to come. The family plans to frame the note with a piece of the glass bottle as a reminder of this fascinating encounter with the history of their home.