Yorkshire Roofer Discovers Message in Bottle from Grandad in Roof

A YORKSHIRE ROOFER has discovered a message in a bottle from his own grandfather cemented in the roof of a historic city centre building.

Luke Redhead of JLR Roofing and Property Maintenance was working on a roof at a sandwich shop at the back of Shambles in Newgate when he and his team came across the unusual find.

“We have maintained the roofs at the site for a number of years and always knew there was a bottle with notes stuffed inside, bedded into the cement haunching,” said Luke.

Message in a Bottle

When the day came to recover the bottle, Luke was surprised to find a 40-year-old note from his grandfather, along with several old church newsletters and a bit of life advice to “keep smiling”.

The note, dated 1981, read: ‘The tiler who laid these tiles, George Redhead, is a York resident born and bred’.

“When I first saw it, I had a range of emotions to be honest,” Luke said about the discovery. “There was a definite sense of pride – it was a proud moment.

“The late George Redhead senior, my grandad whom I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to meet, had re-roofed the roof more than 40 years ago.

“My Grandad left subtle marks wherever he worked, be it a bottle with a note or a trowel mark in the gable ends. I look forward to finding more as time goes on.”

The bottle containing George’s message was found cemented in the roof.

Luke was joined on the day by the JLR Roofing team: Andrew Thorbinson; his uncle, George Redhead; Jonny Lambert; and Max Neal. The team have since bedded the bottle back into the roof, along with the original notes inside and included a message of their own.

Luke is the third generation of his family to work on roofs in York and North Yorkshire. Luke became a roofer following in the footsteps of his father, John Lawrence Redhead, and his grandfather, George Redhead senior.

The family business began with George’s own company, George Redhead Roofing. In 1986, George’s son John established his own roofing business, JLR Roofing. The company was later taken over by Luke after his father sadly passed away in 2019.


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