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Steve's collection takes a 'lotta bottle.

Byline: By Emma Brady

A Worcestershire man with a "lotta bottle" hopes to open a national museum to celebrate the heritage of the humble milk bottle.

Steve Wheeler, a retired cattle exporter, began collecting the pint and half-pint bottles in 1980 as he found them while out on walks near his home in Malvern.

Since then the 57-year-old has amassed more than 16,000 glass and plastic containers, with some dating back to the 1850s.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Mr Wheeler opened his workshop - where he stores his collection - to the public.

"I've always been a keen walker, in fact anything outdoorsy, and I just started to notice these milk bottles being left by gates, stiles and so on," he said.

"So I would take them home and clean them up with a view to returning them to the dairy, but all too often the dairy concerned couldn't be traced."

The oldest bottle in Mr Wheeler's collection is a patent milk powder bottle from Grimwades in London, which dates back to 1850.

But his favourite is a shop display bottle with Zoe Newton emblazoned across it. She was an actress who featured in the 1950s Drinka Pinta Milka Day campaign.

However, the collection is far from complete. "I'd like to get to 20 or 30 million bottles, and what I really want to do is give them all a proper home in a national museum," explained Mr Wheeler

For more information email milkbottlepast@hotmail.com, call 01684 569656 or visit www. milkbottlenews.org.uk

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Steve Wheeler with some of the milk bottles among his 16,000 collection
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 30, 2005
Words:270
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