The first issue of Milk Bottle News was published in 1984 by Mike Hull and Margaret Barber in response to the realisation that collecting milk bottles had suddenly become respectable!
This was mainly due to the interest in the national and regional advertising on milk bottles, not a new idea, but one which had taken on a new lease of life.
Previously, collecting them was the domain of a few isolated collectors around the British Isles, but by the summer of 1984, it was estimated that around 100 collectors existed. To quote from the editorial of the first issue "A few years ago, if you asked at a bottle show if the stall-holders had any milk bottles, they usually fell about laughing. Now about a third of the bottle stalls are offering milk bottles."
Milk Bottle News soon became a popular publication, and Naomi Hull became the joint-editor after Margaret Barber stepped down from the post in Autumn 1987.
Not only is the content of the newsletter provided by its editors, but the participation of its subscribers is actively encouraged, with many articles being written about such diverse subjects as the rhymes on the Clyde Higgs bottles (at least 25 different ones), regional and national dairies past and present, go-withs such as cardboard caps, models and ephemera, and information on various milk bottle-related patents, to name but a few. Virtually every dairy-related subject has been covered.
As well as a quarterly newsletter full of information about all aspects of milk bottle and dairyana collecting, there is also a full index of all the articles ever written, and a subscribers' list to enable collectors to keep in touch.
Every six months, there is a meeting (gathering, convention... nobody's too sure what to call it!), organised by different subscribers in their own part of the UK.
Collectors bring their swaps and anything they have for sale, and there is an auction in aid of a charity. Normally around 40 to 60 collectors get together, and are almost guaranteed to come away with something to add to their collections.
Collectors also bring displays, usually on a theme they have chosen, made up from items from their own collections, such as these bottles from Baines Dairies of Liverpool.
Milk Bottle News is unique in that although it is not a club, it is more than just a newsletter. Its subscribers are a circle of friends and like-minded collectors, not just in the UK, but worldwide.