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Poppers Bottle


About this object

Poppers is the well-known term for a group of chemicals called alkyl nitrate. Popular amongst LGBT people since the 1970s the drug can produce a short term head rush, enhanced sexual feeling and is often associated with sex.

This bottle was donated to the Museum of Liverpool in 2016. The anonymous donor explains the story behind their significance,

“This bottle was given to me by my teenage sweetheart, as a tongue- in -cheek gift when we met up again, after 28 years. We had been secret lovers in our teens but remained firmly in the closet, as many young men did in Warrington during the 1980s. We parted ways in 1984, when I was almost 17 and he was approaching 18. Unable to accept being gay, we both turned to radical religion and went our separate ways.

We re-connected via Facebook in 2012, one now a liberal agnostic, the other an atheist. We shared our first ever guilt- free night of passion, along with this bottle of poppers. For me, even the empty bottle symbolised something so happy, and so much fun that I couldn't bear to throw it away. It’s lovely to think of it in the museum’s collection in years to come.

It's a relic of a part of gay life that a Conservative government sought to ban in 2016, but more importantly it's a symbol of two young men; too afraid of society to be themselves when they were young, but who ultimately found themselves in their 30s and 40s; and believe me, finding ourselves was so much fun!”

Object specifics

  • Title
    Poppers Bottle
  • Accession no.
  • Type
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Yorkshire: Leeds
  • Date made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
    Glass; Plastic
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Measurements
    81 mm x 30 mm x 30 mm
  • Collection
    From the Museum of Liverpool collections
Object view = Social History
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LGBT collections

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