1950s Chandy bottle crate
With huge thanks to Nigel Watts for donating this great item to the museum, we are proud to present here one of the largest and most substantial pieces in our collection, a wooden Chandy bottle crate.
We believe it dates from the 1950s and is certainly a very rare item - we've never seen another one. The clues to its age include: its wooden manufacture (apparently plastic crates began to be introduced from the 1950s onwards); the reference to 'Chislehurst', which name we've only seen elsewhere in connection with Chandy on the very earliest Chandy bottle - see here; and the use of pre-decimal currency in the printing on the narrow sides of the crate.
The crate, which is in great condition for its age, measures approximately 43 x 26 x 29(h)cm, weighs a hefty 3.9kg, is of very solid construction and, we believe, would have been used to carry 24 bottles of Chandy.
The wording printed on the crate in full is as follows: On both the longer sides - 'Chandy CHISLEHURST'; on both of the narrower sides - 'DEPOSIT 3/-'; additionally on one of the narrower sides - 'W.SMITH, BERMONDSEY LTD MAKERS [illegible]..ORSE RD. LONDON S.E.8' and '4/54'.
Obviously we know what the word 'Chandy' refers to! 'Chislehurst', we believe, refers to the Chislehurst Mineral Waters Company, Kent, the manufacturer's name given on the early Chandy bottle here. 'Deposit 3/-' is presumably the amount that was charged along with the price of the bottles for the full crate and refunded on return of the empty crate, 3/- being three shillings or 15p in decimal currency. W.Smith Ltd of Bermondsey is a company, like the Chislehurst Mineral Waters Company, that ceased trading a long time ago and about which we can find very little information. The illegible bit of text in their address probably read Blackhorse Rd, being a street in London SE8 that can be found today, but which no longer houses any wooden crate manufacturers! The number may refer to the crate itself perhaps (crate number 4 of 54?), but we have no real way of knowing.
The small photo gallery below shows photos of the crate variously pictured from different angles and showing the wording printed on it. Click on any of the images to see it full size, and use the left and right arrows to scroll through the pictures in the gallery.