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Laurie Elks’ Album Of Bottle Labels

December 12, 2017
by the gentle author

These days Laurie Elks is celebrated in Hackney as the custodian of St Augustine’s Tower, but before he arose to these lofty heights he practised the art of stewardship by amassing this magnificent collection of bottle labels, organised with loving care in a scrap book that he has cherished through the years.

“When I was a boy I collected all sorts of things and I think I acquired my bottle label collection when I was eleven or twelve, so the labels come from early sixties.  I wrote off in my schoolboy handwriting to all the breweries I could think of, telling them I was collecting beer bottle labels and most of them wrote back with a little packet of labels which I stuck in my album with Gloy gum.  I doubt whether they would write back today.  I must have looked up the addresses of the breweries in the London phone book as I cannot think of any other search strategies that would have been available to me at the time.” – Laurie Elks

If any other readers have ephemera collections I could publish please get in touch

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You may also like to take a look at

John Gillman’s Bus Ticket Collection

Ken Sequin’s Badge Collection

Click here to buy a copy of HACKNEY: PORTRAIT OF A COMMUNITY 1967-2017 edited by Laurie Elks and published by the Hackney Society

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Peter Green permalink
    December 12, 2017

    Wonderful! Thank you.

  2. December 12, 2017

    I do like this bottle label collection they are presented in a orderly fashion, dare I say it, with lots of passion by Laurie. Poet John

  3. December 12, 2017

    Thank you again Gentle Author for such an interesting subject . It brought back memories of summer holidays in the 50’s spent in Blandford with an Aunte and Uncle who had a catering business,I would be taken to Badger Beers and at the end of the holiday be put on the Royal Blue to return to Dartmouth laden down with my treasures,labels,trays,beer mats and the minature bottles of beer some of which I still have, somewhere. Ah! memories.

  4. December 12, 2017

    You must KNOW what joy this brings, to all the paper hounds.
    Scrapbooks and albums are such unique treasures — in my view, they are a valid form of Folk Art.
    They are gathered over time, worked on in quiet hours, occasionally shared with friends and family; but often they are simply created by the maker for their own personal reverie. Once in a while, a collection like this one comes to light and it makes the world a more interesting place.
    Yes, paper has THAT kind of enduring power.
    Thanks for shining a light, GA.

  5. Gary Arber permalink
    December 12, 2017

    It was interesting to see the Worthingtons IPA labels, identical except for the colour of the shields.
    This was very important, the white shield was the proper one, the ale was still working in the bottle and there was a sediment known as the leas ( I’m not sure of the spelling). The ale had to be poured very carefully to avoid the sediment getting into the glass but the ale was superb , the green label was not working in the bottle and contained no sediment, this ale was designed for busy bar staff who could pour it rapidly into the glass but the ale was inferior.

  6. Marcia Howard permalink
    December 12, 2017

    What a wonderful collection! I confess I always saved cheese spread labels which are stuck into what has become a rather bulky looking exercise book. There are still about 6 clean pages left in it, and although I will be 70 on my next birthday, if I ever see a new label, I still cannot stop myself saving it to add to the collection.

  7. Kitanz permalink
    December 12, 2017

    the Bottle Label Collection is Amazing! I really enjoyed it!

  8. December 13, 2017

    A wonderful graphic design collection!

    Love & Peace

  9. December 14, 2017

    Dear GA. A wonderful collection. Like so many schoolboys in the 1950s I was also an avid if not a little eclectic collector. Mine were all associated with aircraft. In particular airline sticky labels and tie on luggage labels. Many for airlines no longer in existence. The intention is to show them in Mindfully Bertie . I am not sure If they are impressive enough for your blog. There will also be information about the airlines they depict and how I acquired them.

  10. Stephen permalink
    January 11, 2023

    In the late 1970s I was squatting in South London. An Australian bloke lived in the squat. Amongst the many alcoholic beverages he liked to drink was Guinness by the bottle and would take off the labels and stick them onto the wall of his room. He had completed about two walls before he left. A year’s hard work probably.

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