An avid collector of milk bottles – who remarkably doesn’t like milk himself – is hoping the people of West Cork can help him in his quest to find Irish milk bottles.
Steve Wheeler, who has been collecting milk bottles for over 30 years, hopes to add these to his already extensive collection at his Milk Bottle Museum in Malvern, Worcestershire.
He has over 20,000 on display at the museum with the majority of those from the UK and overseas.
Despite his love of milk bottles, Steve hasn’t drank milk since his school days after some bad memories of milk going off which left a bad taste in his mouth.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Steve said he first started collecting milk bottles over 30 years ago, having found his first one while out climbing in the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
‘Finding that the dairy named on the bottle was closing I thought I had better find some more and more,’ said Steve.
And he certainly did find more and more and ended up building his own museum, which he has enlarged over the years to cover his impressive collection.
‘My children worked out that there was over 16 tonnes of glass inside,’ added Steve, who is also seeking ‘cardboard caps’ that sealed milk bottles up until the mid 1950s.
Both he and his wife Sue are visiting West Cork at the end of this month and he is keen to hear from anyone who can help him in his milk bottle quest.
‘I have over 17,500 British milk bottles dating from the 1880s to the 1990s and around 3,000 from overseas but I only have two from Ireland and would love to get more. These old milk bottles are usually found in old farms and dairies, under sink cupboards, sheds and allotments. I have even had electricians find me milk bottles under floorboards when they were rewiring houses.’
While planning to visit areas like Bantry, Skibbereen and Kinsale, Steve said that they will zigzag back and forwards depending on the responses they get from people in West Cork.
‘I have promised Sue that we will get to see all the places anyway but that it might not be by a direct route,’ he quipped.
Steve doesn’t just collect milk bottles and has also amassed a collection of cereal packets and a rather unusual collection of unused airline sick bags.
You can email Steve Wheeler on [email protected] or call 00-44-1684-569656.