Eagle eyed excavators unearthed a 100 year old R.White’s bottle as they prepared a new housing site on Upney Lane, Barking last week.
The Doulton Lambeth Salt glazed pottery bottle was spotted by Rob Finbow, Site Manager for contractors Jerram Falkus, who are working to build 95 new council-owned flats for the borough’s regeneration company, Be First.
Rob, who confessed to being a fan of the secret lemonade drinker in his youth, said: “We were surprised to find it in such good condition – it’s certainly captured the interest of our team in the local areas history.”
The bottle, which is inscribed with the name R. Whites, was probably made locally. The R Whites factory was located for many years in nearby Barking town centre and closed only in 1972 when it moved to Beckton. A number of Barking town centre buildings celebrate this fact, most notably the Lemonade Building which is clad in the R. Whites colours.
Staff on site have speculated that the original owner of the bottle may have been the original secret lemonade drinker since it appeared to be consumed by a solitary drinker. The bottle was the only historic find unearthed on the site.
The bottle will, however, be used in school work by Be First‘s Heritage Engagement Manager, Simone Panayi, who will be using it in the work she does with local schools exploring local history.
Simone commented: “I am really excited by the find, it’s a really important part of Barking’s, industrial heritage, so I’m so pleased that Jerram Falkus have donated it to us. Lemonade is something I am absolutely addicted to but to paraphrase Ross McManus – I’ve been trying to give it up but it’s one of those nights!”