Wednesday, 11 July 2012
More on Margate bottles.
Recently I have been expanding my collection of Margate mineral water and ginger beer bottles to coincide with a future exhibition at the Margate Museum. Also on a more personal note I am looking at the Margate Museum collection with the intention of helping to improve the quality of the collection.
It is a well known fact that during the late Victorian era up until the start of the First World War that many varieties and designs of mineral water and ginger beer bottles circulated in Margate, a lucrative market that was dominated by the big three M J Harlow , Reeve & Co and Barrett & Co.
In these days of information technology the information regarding the many mineral water and ginger beer manufacturers is coming together and a like most research we can be awash with detail and very little in the way of a tangible artifact.
Margate at the moment is going through this heritage renaissance supported by a network of people that are good at what they do. So my contribution in all of this is to seek artifacts for display either trawling through the internet, going to auctions or even digging them up myself.
The two green aqua bottles I have photographed on the top left are M J Harlow mineral water bottles. The one on the right is a Codd's bottle and was found under floorboards in a house in Eaton Road Margate by an electrician. It is embossed M J Harlow High Street Margate and that dates the bottle as pre 1898 when M J Harlow moved from the premises at 94 High Street Margate to a purpose
built manufacturing premises at Addiscombe Road Margate or Chaucer Road as it was known then. Next to the Codd bottle is flat bottom Hamilton with a crown cap this bottle would have been used for table water. This bottle has an embossment that was adopted by M J Harlow when they moved into the Addiscombe Road premises and has a similarity in design to one of Harlow's rivals Reeve & Co.
Below the two bottles is a M J Harlow screw top ginger beer bottle from the same Margate High Street premises. This bottle is molded in a mold that came in four sections , this enabled the bottle manufacturer to use the same mold for other client's by simply changing the name plate which in turn kept costs down. The bottle is embossed "Homemade Ginger Beer" a local industry that was very popular with the Victorian visitor.The next bottle below it is a crown cap olive green bottle and had a generic use, it dates from the 1920's and was a common design used up until 1924 when the M J Harlow ceased to trade and sold out to Barrett & Co.
The stone ginger beer bottle to the left is one of the many designs used to sell ginger beer brewed at the Reeve & Co premises at Hawley Street Margate. The company was established in 1849 and had the largest share of the ginger beer and mineral water market supplying the hotel trade. This bottle commemorates the company being in business for over 60 years. All Reeve bottles were well made and most had makers marks. However this bottle has staining in the glaze the transfer print is weak plus there are no makers mark. Therefore I have now this feeling that this bottle was more than likely made during the later years of the first world war. When I bought this bottle it did not have a Reeve &; Co stopper, fortunately I was able find one during the excavation that took place construction of the Margate sea defence works and it fits perfectly.
Finally, this bottle to the left is another Reeve & Co ginger beer bottle. This bottle also has no makers mark and was origanaly manufactured as a plain bottle and was later acid etched.
Reeve & Co also supplied soda syphons to the hotel trade in Margate. The soda syphons were also acid etched and those supplied to the more upmarket hotels carried some stunning designs on coloured glass.