'Incredible' 135-year-old find under mum's floorboards

A mum of two was stunned when a plumber discovered an “incredible” 135-year-old time capsule underneath the floorboards of her home.

Eilidh Stimpson, who works as a GP, said the plumber was working at her house in Morningside, Edinburgh, on Monday when he unearthed a handwritten note sealed in a dusty, empty whisky bottle.

Excited about the mysterious find, she took to Facebook to share photos of the “little piece of history”, which appears to have been undisturbed since 1887.

“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,” the note signed by the two workers reads.

The 135-year-old note in the bottle under the floorboards.
The 135-year-old note was discovered under the mum's floorboards on Monday. Source: Eilidh Stimpson/Facebook

The doctor recalled the “pretty cool” moment to 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,” she said. “Then he came down the stairs going, ‘look at what I just found in the hole I just made!’. It was quite exciting.”

Ms Stimpson decided to wait for her kids to come home from school before opening the bottle’s cork and examining the letter’s contents. “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,” she said.

Discovery 'crazy and so random'

The plumber Peter Allan told the publication the discovery was “all a bit strange”. “Where I cut the hole in the floor, is exactly where the bottle was located, which is crazy and so random.”

Curious about the note’s authors, one of the mum’s friends began digging into the history of the area and found two men with the same names lived in the area in the 1880s. Ms Stimpson hopes to preserve the letter and is considering burying her own message for future owners of the home.

The mum’s Facebook post has garnered hundreds of comments praising the “brilliant find”. “Interesting is an understatement! This is completely amazing!” one man said.

“I don’t think they ever could have predicted when they wrote it that you would be able to take a photograph using a device no bigger than your hand and put it instantly on a platform that could reach the entire community in a few seconds,” a woman wrote. “Incredible. If you place one for the next person who knows how it would be discovered and the information shared. What a lovely timeframe from the past.”

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