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Mystery of the koala motif on old glass bottle found at Malvern spring
12:32pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
LOOKING GLASS: Rhys Humm, director at the Holywell Water Company in Malvern Wells, examines the koala bottle found near to the factory.
WHY would a koala be used to promote Malvern’s world-famous water?
It might sound like the start of a bad joke but that very question has the guardians of the famous brand scratching their heads in confusion.
Rhys Humm, director of the Holywell Water Company, has been left stumped after receiving a glass bottle with the Holywell branding on it as well as an embossed image of a koala.
The mysterious bottle was washed down the hillside to the back of St Ann’s Well during a heavy downpour.
St Ann’s Well tenant John Redman spotted the Holywell branding and delivered it to Mr Humm, but the pair have no idea when it dates from or what relevance the marsupial mascot has to Malvern’s water.
“Often when there is a downpour some glass bottles will be washed out which have been dumped many years before,” said Mr Humm. “We have uncovered a number of Holywell bottles from the Victorian period this way.
“This particular bottle was fascinating. It has a gold coloured screw top with no remaining label, yet on the bottom is embossed ‘Holy Well (Malvern) Ltd’.
“However, we have been utterly confused by the koala that is embossed on to the bottle two-thirds of the way up.”
The historic Holywell bottling plant, in Holywell Road, is believed to be the oldest facility of its kind in the world, with operations there dating back to the early 17th century.
It was home to Schweppes in the 19th century before it re-located over the hills to Colwall and Mr Humm and his father Mike have been bottling water there since 2009.
But Mr Humm is struggling to determine where this particular bottle fits into that rich history and has been using his business’ Facebook and Twitter pages to appeal for answers, using the hashtag #koalamystery.
He is hoping that Gazette readers may be able to shed some light on the matter.
“One of the funnier suggestions we’ve had so far has been that perhaps it was from when ‘Coca Koala’ owned Schweppes,” he added.
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