And finally… floored

And finally... floored

A plumber working in an Edinburgh flat was astonished to find a 135-year-old message in a bottle under the floorboards.

Peter Allan cut a hole in the floor of a flat in Morningside when he discovered the whisky bottle complete with a rolled-up note.

The time capsule had been stashed on October 6, 1887, and had lain undisturbed since. 

Eilidh Stimpson, who lives in the flat, told Edinburgh Live: “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.”

Amazed by what Peter had found, 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 contained inside. In the end, they realised they were going to have to break the glass to avoid tearing the historic note.

GP Eilidh added: “My 8-year-old is in P4 and is actually learning about the Victorians right now, which is great. 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 6, 1887. Who ever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road.”

Keen to find out more about the pair, a friend of Eilidh’s dug around and found two men of the same name living in the Newington area in the 1880s. Eilidh then shared the discovery on social media this week.

She added: “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.”

Plumber Peter, of Bruntsfield firm WF Wightman, added: “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.”

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