Time capsule buried in Newcastle 21 years ago is removed from the ground - complete with letters, coins and cross-stitch

By Culture24 Reporter | 01 December 2015

Maps, pamphlets and football magazines found in time capsule from 1994 buried under lawn

A photo of a time capsule from 21 years ago being removed from beneath a city lawn
Young people from Newcastle helped unearth a time capsule outside Newcastle Civic Centre© Steve Brock
A time capsule buried beneath a civic centre in Newcastle has been excavated from the ground after 21 years following a reminder from a former pupil who was involved in the original ceremony which hid it within a lawn.

A cross-stitch dedicated to then-Newcastle United player Robert Lee, a Key Stage 2 science test, a blow-up Mr Blobby doll and a health leaflet about Measles were among the items recovered from the time capsule, which also contained a menu of some of the items on offer from a local menu in 1994, including a pizza costing 43p and a fruit salad valued at half the price.

A photo of a time capsule from 21 years ago being removed from beneath a city lawn
© Steve Brock
Jodie Bennett, a 32-year-old administrator who now has three children, helped bury the capsule when local pop star Jimmy Nail was riding high in the charts courtesy of his Crocodile Shoes. “I look back on the time capsule with great fondness,” she said.

“I remember the whole school getting excited about the project. It was part of a wider programme of activities that we did across the year to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Newcastle Middle Schools.

A photo of a time capsule from 21 years ago being removed from beneath a city lawn
© Steve Brock
“We did things involving English and heritage which were directly linked to the capsule. The idea was to leave behind a legacy for future generations and give them a flavour of the times.

“It was great the way everyone got involved from other schools around Newcastle, as we worked together to create our very own piece of history.”

A photo of a time capsule from 21 years ago being removed from beneath a city lawn
© Steve Brock
Councillor Ian Graham, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle who helped retrieve the capsule from beneath the plaque referencing it, said the memento had been “the talk of the civic centre”. “The only people who knew what was inside were the young people who took part in the project all of those years ago,” he pointed out.

The capsule contents have gone on display in the centre’s Silver Gallery until Saturday, with the city’s Discovery Museum expressing an interest in adding them to its archive collection.

Buried in the 1994 time capsule

A photo of a time capsule from 21 years ago being removed from beneath a city lawn
© Steve Brock
  • A letter entitled “To the Finder"

  • Various school prospectuses

  • A Key Stage 2 science test

  • A collection of coins (1p / 2p / 5p / 50p / £1)

  • An extension cable

  • A cross stitch containing the words ‘Robert Lee’ ‘NUFC’ (Robert Lee was a Newcastle United player)

  • A blow-up Mr Blobby doll

  • A Black and White official magazine (a football fanzine)

  • A newsletter “The Community Chronicle” (produced by Denton Park Middle School)

  • A newspaper (The Journal)

  • A pamphlet “The Story of Gas”

  • A spiral bound booklet entitled “Canal Adventure Week” (by pupils of Throckley Middle School)

  • A material pennant from Denton Park Middle School

  • An A to Z of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and Durham

  • A health leaflet about Measles

  • A City Cuisine menu which listed the types of food on offer back in 1994 including chips 32p / pizza 43p / fruit 13p / tuna risotto 43p / fruit salad 22p

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Four places to see living history in

Science Museum, London
The permanent exhibition, James Watt and our World, invites visitors to explore the legendary attic workshop of engineer James Watt, preserved as it was when he died in 1819. The workshop is an astonishing time-capsule containing its original furniture, windows, doors and fireplace, and 8,430 fascinating objects left as they were in Watt’s lifetime.

Mr Straw's House, Worksop
An Edwardian semi-detached house which the Straw family moved into in 1923, this life-sized time capsule has remained virtually unchanged ever since, intriguing guests for 20 years in a rare glimpse at treasured objects from times gone by.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell
There are very few examples of gardens which haven't been 'modernised' and Heligan provides a unique time capsule. Heligan restored provides a testament to the Victorian vision and ingenuity which first created this subtropical paradise.

The Hardmans' House, Liverpool
A unique time capsule of Liverpool life in the mid-20th century. A small exhibition space is devoted to a selection of the photographer E Chambre Hardman's work, allowing visitors to discover Hardman's amazing techniques for photographing people and landscapes and hear him talk about his work on film.
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