Before County Londonderry was called that it was known as County Coleraine, so it’s namesake town of almost 25,000 people has always been a prominent place within the North West.

Situated on the River Bann it rose during Victorian times to be an important port town being only 5 miles along the river to Lough Foyle. Noted for it Linens, Salmon & Whiskey.

In 1861 there where at least 7 Spirit Dealers/Merchants and 15 Pubs & 7 Hotels in town jumping in 1880 to 30 & 18 respectively. So it’s no surprise that there are Bottles and flagons out there, though at this point it’s anyone guess how many.


Patrick McLaughlin listed in 1901 having premises in the Waterside and the Diamond, this particular flagon is a late one probably 1900/10.

A 1 Gallon version with P McLaughlin, a bit older probably 1885ish

John McLaughlin listed in 1852 at Preaching House Lane (now Church Street), 1901 as having premises at Brook Street and ceased trading by 1918. Going by the crudeness of the letters and the darkness of the glaze I date this to 1880s.

Hamiton Todd & Co

Listed in 1907 BSD at premises on Circular road as a Mineral Water Manufacturer, seemingly taking over James Birch’s Mineral Water manufactory after his death in 1905.

It seems he was in business right up until his death in 1951 at which point Lyle & Kinahan of Belfast bought the business and ran it as a subsidiary under the original name.

Coleraine - Hamilton Todd & Co.jpg

Stoneware bottle with Coleraine Coat of Arms, no idea at present where Brookfield Works are. My hypothesis is that their location at Circular Road looks out onto a small Brook and perhaps they named their factory after such. This is most likely the first style of bottle they used as stoneware would have been the go to medium of aerated waters up until about 1920, it’s a swing stopper closure and would have had a ceramic lid no doubt with their name printed on.


They would have slowly started moving to glass as it became cheaper and I would say this bottle existed alongside the stoneware for a short period. Dates to 1910

Crown capped bottle, still an early bottle as it is an applied lip. 1920’s


I, along with a few others had assumed that this pictorial was of a dog, a greyhound or similar. With this sharp embossing however it’s clear to see that this is in fact a Fox with its bushy tail. Further supported as Todd is derived from the old english word Tod which translates as Fox and as such appears on various Todd coat of Arms.

This a much later machine-made bottle, with manufacturing processes being refined, more elaborate designs could be moulded. 1940’s


Another version with the Hamilton Todd coat of arms.


As you can see evidence of the take over of Lyle & Kinahan, 1951 onwards

Anderson & Stewart

Originally two separate address’ on Church Street, Hugh Anderson in 17a & John Stewart in 17b.

Hugh inherited the business in 1871 from his uncle Alexander who operated as a General Merchant. It’s unclear to me if John Stewart was in business at 17b or simply living there, either way the 2 address’ became one in 1874 and thus the Anderson & Stewart Spirit Merchants was born.

Hugh died in 1899 leaving John the business, it’s unclear when John passed away but the business operated until the 1960’s.


For the brief period of 3 years that Hugh ran his own business he dabbled in Spirits and this is where we get this behemoth 3 1/2 Gallon Flagon from. A slab seal impressed with H.Anderson/ Coleraine. Notice how the potter failed to cut of a few of the crescents, it’s little things like this that make me like collecting.


In original dirt covered wicker basket, all 145 years worth, this was bought at an auction in Rasharkin June 2017 and by all accounts had been sitting in a corner of a shed untouched for 50 years.


Rather less impressive this machine-made beer bottle from the 1950’s, would have had a paper label and probably a pictorial cap.

I will update this blog as I find more bottles from these main companies and may even do a part 2 as more items turn up.




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