I dug up treasure yesterday (literally)
By dangermousette on May 18, 2011
Ooh, I forgot to tell you. I'm like a bloody pirate I am (except that I don't wear an eye-patch or have a wooden leg or parrot).
You know that in recent weeks, I have spent quite a lot of time in London getting my house ready for sale?
Well, yesterday I was in the garden digging a very big hole in readiness for a very big bush (crikey, that sounds like a euphemism), when all of a sudden my spade encountered something hard (woof).
At first I thought that my spade had hit a brick or stone, but it soon became clear that it was something larger. I knelt down and started carefully clearing the mud from around the object (I was pretending to be like those archeologists off the TV), but that got a bit boring so I got my spade and just stabbed at it like a psycho until it broke free from its muddy resting place.
And then ........... I found that I had discovered treasure! Kind of. Ooh Arr me hearties!
It was a glass bottle and after I had washed off the mud, it became pretty clear that it was really old.... i.e. older than me.
Now that is one of the joys of living in an old house (I say old, but my London house was built in the 1850s, so it isn't that old compared with my Oxford house which was built in the 1550s) .......... they keep on throwing up little bits of history like a baby with a penchant for projectile vomiting.
So do you want to look at my treasure? Here you go ........................
Pic.No.1 The bottle had the word 'Idris' cast on the side
Pic.No.2 There was still evidence of an old cork stopper inside the bottle. Not only that, but the glass blowing was pretty rough; look how lop-sided the base is. It's obvious that primitive technology was used
Pic.No.3 Another view of the logo on the side of the bottle
Pic.No.4 The base of the bottle had the numbers '1397' blown into the glass. And nope. I have no idea what they mean
So I took my treasure and hot-footed it back to Oxford so that I could do a bit of research on the internet.
I googled 'Idris Bottle' and was surprised by how few results came back. But from what I could glean, Idris was a Ginger Beer drink, and it was sold in bottles pre-1914 AD (apparently similar bottles were found in the Somme after World War 1).
In fact, even though I didn't have time to properly research it, it appeared that Idris Ginger Beer was still available today, although the packaging had morphed from glass bottles to garish tin cans.
Pic.No.5 Idris as it looks today (but I don't recall ever seeing it for sale anywhere)
WOW! There was nearly a hundred years between the bottle that I found and the tin can above. That is one long-living brand. And Steve tried to steal my find from me by asking, 'uhh can I take that old bottle that you found? It would be ideal for putting daffodils in'.
Obviously I said 'no' because it could potentially feature on the 'Antiques Roadshow' and be worth a fortune, and then I would never have to work again.
So, are there any historians out there who can help me shed some light onto my find?
Annie (Lady M) x
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