1980 I moved to Norwich from London with HMSO (Her Majesty's Stationery
Office). Following early retirement I became interested in local
bottles while searching for (now
defunct) screw top bottles to use in my hobby of home brewing (photo). I was
intrigued by the variations in colour and embossing exhibited
common beer bottles. This interest was furthered after paying many
(now closed) Alby bottle museum near Cromer, set up by the late George
Dennis. This exhibited a vast array of bottles and associated
from Norfolk's drinks manufacturers.
I also viewed bottle collections displayed at Gressenhall Museum of Norfolk Life near Dereham and the Musem Of Norwich at the Bridewell and attended the bottle fairs put on by the East Anglian Bottle Collectors Club [EABCC] (Link to details).
I began by collecting just beer bottles, but then decided to concentrate on all types of bottles from the defunct Norwich Breweries, together with those from Backs and Caleys. I soon realised that there is a clear divide between the relatively common bottles seen at car boots and on ebay, and the rarer ones, usually only seen by the established collectors.
Local ginger beers - a major interest of Norfolk collectors - are well documented in published books and on some excellent websites (Links & Bibliography), so I decided to do the same for the Norwich glass bottles in my collection and others that I had seen (eg, courtesy of Colin Neale and Mark Maidment of the aforementioned bottle club).
My collection is far from exhaustive, but gives an idea of the variations in colour and type of local bottles.
This website shows a selective cross-section of this collection, together with some basic information on the breweries. Also included are examples of ginger beer bottles and breweriana from the companies, a summary of bottle makers, and some beer bottles from other East Anglian breweries.
|© Barry Roberts|
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