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Booze bottle reveals library’s sodden past

PUBLISHED: 12:18 16 August 2010

Chris Bull and Lawrence Fox

Chris Bull and Lawrence Fox

Archant

A 300-year-old brandy bottle unearthed during the £2.5 million reconstruction of the town’s library has shed light on the site’s varied past.

A 300-year-old brandy bottle unearthed during the £2.5 million reconstruction of the town’s library has shed light on the site’s varied past.

During the demolition of a section of the library workers discovered the long-necked mallet bottle, believed to date to 1720 while excavating a supporting wall alongside a porcelain cup.

Christoph Bull, district manager for Gravesham and Dartford libraries, said: “At that time the site was St Thomas’s Almshouses, a place for the down and outs to stay much like modern day sheltered accommodation.

“Certainly there would have been no drink allowed on site so we think it was probably someone’s secret tipple that they had to quickly stow away during an inspection.

The new community building, which Mr Bull expects to be the best library in the county, will include a dedicated adult study area, outdoor reading space, enlarged IT suite, a local history section and an area for teenagers and younger readers to enjoy.

The top floor of the new section will see the site return to its sheltered housing roots as borough residents in need of care and without access to wash room facilities will be given exclusive access to use showers and a changing area.

A registrars office for recording births and deaths will also be established.

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