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History message in a bottle

A collection of old glass and stoneware bottles discovered during excavations at Norton Bridge have gone on display.

The late 19th and early 20th Century bottles were found as part of works to create a flyover on the railway line at Norton Bridge, and are on display at Stafford’s Ancient High House.

The collection has been added to the Marson Shop gallery space, courtesy of Stafford Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Jeremy Pert, who handed them over to Cabinet Member for Leisure, Mike Smith.

Mr. Marson’s shop occupied the Ancient High House for over 50 years and the bottles enhance a tableaux that illustrates the shop and how it might have looked in 1910.

Pictured are Councillors Jeremy Pert, Mike Smith and Head of Leisure and Culture, Adam Hill. No details were given as to the gentleman on the far right's identity!

Gotta lotta bottle!  Pictured are Councillors Jeremy Pert, Mike Smith and Head of Leisure and Culture, Adam Hill. No details were given as to the gentleman on the far right’s identity!

In those days anything from ink to beer would have been stored in similar bottles. Those that held fizzy drinks, often aerated water, had to have a stopper to keep them airtight.

Fascinating fact – one type was known as a Cod bottle and had a little glass marble which sat in the neck, held in placed by rubber washers. To open the bottle you used a plunger and a small wooden hammer – which is where the phrase “a load of Codswallop” comes from.

Councillor Pert said: “Given that these are archaeological finds from the Norton Bridge area it is great that they will be on display just a few miles away from where they were unearthed and are available for all to see for free at the Ancient High House.”

Archaeologists also discovered a wooden butter churn lid at Norton Bridge from the Saxon period. Evidence of prehistoric activity was uncovered in the same area of the site.

The Ancient High House is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesdays to Saturdays.  Admission is free.   

 

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