Mum who found 135-year-old message in bottle under floorboards baffled by ‘strange’ note

When you get a tradesperson round to fix a leaky pipe or check your boiler, you don’t expect them to dig up a forgotten relic from over a century ago, do you?

But that’s exactly what happened to one mum after a plumber she had booked to help her move a radiator just so happened to cut through her floorboards in the exact spot where a bottle with a message inside had been buried 135 years beforehand.

Eilidh Stimpson, from Edinburgh, was stunned when plumber Peter Allan told her what he had uncovered beneath the floor of her home and handed her an old whisky bottle containing a rolled-up piece of paper.

She 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.”

Although she was desperate to open the bottle immediately, Eilidh decided she would wait until her two children – aged 10 and eight – came home from school so that they could be involved in discovering what the Victorian-era message had said.

The mum-of-two said her kids were “super excited” to read the message, and once her partner had come home from work, the family set about trying to get the message out of the bottle – which left them needing to break the glass.

She added: “The [kids] were super excited. 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.

“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.”

And when they finally got the message out of the bottle, they found out exactly who had left it there and when – as it was signed and dated by two male workers who had laid the original floor in the house back in 1887.

The note 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.”

Eilidh later posted a picture of the bottle and the note on a local Facebook group, and is now keen for her family to leave another message for future generations to discover.

“We’ve just been amazingly lucky, and I’m glad everyone thinks it’s as interesting as we do,” she explained, “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.”

And Peter Allan, who originally found the note, was equally as amazed by the discovery.

He 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.”