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Information from Janet Presland and the Evening Telegraph
Time Capsules

The cupboard under which the time capsule is buried
The contents gathered ready to fill the capsule
Janet & Eric preparing to fill the capsule

A Time Capsule was prepared by members of the Rushden & District History Society. It was filled and sealed on Tuesday December 1st 1998. It was buried under the stone slab at the bottom of the cupboard in the belfry of St. Mary’s Church, Rushden on Monday January 25th 1999.

Pictured: the cupboard where the capsule is buried; the contents; Janet & Eric filling the capsule; Pat Jenkins, Peter White, Janet Presland & Eric Fowell before the capsule is lowered into the hole.

Ready to dop the capsule into its resting place

St. Mary’s Church Clock and the Time Capsule    

Until 1952 there were six bells in the church tower. Then, the tower became unsafe and the bells could not be rung. £3,500 was raised from the town in a hundred days. After the tower and spire had been strengthened the bells were re-hung with two new bells added. Due to the extra weight with eight bells, the positions of the clock mechanism and the bells were reversed. Since then the clock mechanism has been above the clock face. Over the past years the church clock and its chiming and striking mechanisms have all been powered by weights which move down and then have to be wound back up again by hand. Since the 1952 changes the chiming and striking mechanisms, each with a large weight weighing 7 to 8 cwt, need to be wound every fifty hours. The clock mechanism, with a smaller weight weighing 2 to 3 cwt, need to be wound every six days. It is therefore necessary for someone to ascend the 66 steps from ground level every two days.

In 1953, when 17 year old Peter White was in the church choir, the Rector, the Rev. Edwin A. Green, asked him if he would like to be the verger. The Job, at that time, included winding up the church clock. He started the job and then, in 1954, Peter decided to train as a nurse. For the following eight years, until 1962, his father undertook the winding of the clock. Peter then again took on the task which he has now done for the 36 years since 1962.

The church owns the clock and the local council pays for its winding and maintenance. It is an amenity for Rushden and is probably looked at by most of the inhabitants. In the 1950s the £20 per year paid to Peter’s father was enough to pay his council rates for the whole year. In May 1993, Peter again became Verger at St. Mary’s after the retirement of the former Verger, Fred Bass.

In 1998 the Church Council decided that it was time to spare Peter the 66 step climb he had to do every other day to wind the clock so it was agreed to install an automatic winding system at a cost of £6,000. The clock winding was made automatic by Smith’s of Derby later in the year. In January 1999 the building work was done. The clock weights, which descended into a hole in the floor beneath a cupboard in the bell-ringing chamber, were removed. The resulting empty hole was about four feet deep below floor level.

THE ‘TIME CAPSULE’                           Prepared on Tuesday December 1ST 1998 by Rushden & District History Society

A ‘Time Capsule’ prepared by the Rushden and District History Society was sealed on Tuesday, December 1st 1998. It was lowered into the hole, when the building work was being carried out, on Monday, January 25th 1999. The cavity was then filled with gravel and it was topped with York Stone slabs. The Capsule’s many contents show something of the way of life in Rushden near the end of the 20th century. On behalf of the Church a copy of the 1994 Church Directory, a Church Guidebook, a December copy of the magazine ‘Grapevine’ and one of the December notice sheets were included.

The Capsule is 27 inches long and has a diameter of 14 inches.The outer capsule consists of four sections of Hepworth units, each with a rubber seal (they are sections of a sewer pipe). It has wooden ends made of teak which are sealed with a water-proof sealant, a special glue obtained from the ‘Building Centre’ in Fitzwilliam Street, Rushden. Inside the capsule are three containers – A large glass sweet jar, a glass fruit preserving jar and a plastic drain pipe lined with cardboard and sealed at each end with two plastic pieces. Both jars are also sealed.

The Contents:
A message from the History Society

The latest Internet print-outs of the Society

A History Society bookmark

The latest 'Risdene Echo' (Society's Journal)

Two of our Local Walks leaflets

Programme card of History Society

Local postcards - views of Rushden

Photograph of Rushden Hall by Vic Childs

Photograph of blacksmith, Jim Guinee

East Northants Guide Book with maps

Rushden Golf Club AGM information

'Views of Old Rushden' book by E. Fowell

'Midland Railway - The Rushden & Higham
Ferrers Branch' book by Peter Butler

'Evening Telegraph' of December 1st 1998

'Daily Mail' of December 1st 1998

Nene Valley News (ENC) December 1998

Evening Telegraph Property Supplement

Powerhouse catalogue - electrical products

Great Mills catalogue - DIY, gardening

Post Office Christmas Mail Information

Methodist Church 75th Anniversary booklet

Guide Book of St. Mary's Church

Programme of the 'Castle' Wellingborough

A 'Peter Crisp' newsletter - local store

A 'Wills' Autumn Offers' booklet - local store

Dr. Marten's Boots & Shoes publicity booklet

Argos catalogue 1998 - assorted goods available

Harry Martin's clicker's knife (shoemaking)

Stud box with collar stud from Audrey Abbott

Hand-drawn view cards - Amenities Society

WW2 award for collecting books - Greta Burt

Northants Calendar of Events in 1998 (tourism)

Evening Telegraph 'TV Week' (television prog.)

Bone china plate with picture of St. Mary's
Church & War Memorial

Story of the winding of the Church Clock to 1998

St. Mary's Church Directory of 1994 (photos)

Wrappers for chocolate, crisps, Hula Hoops etc

'Grapevine' December 1998 - Church magazine

3 items - Rushden Historical Transport Society:
Poster from Cavalcade May 1998
Brass Plaque from Cavalcade May 1998
'Olde Wheels' magazine the latest edition

E.T. 'Sport on Monday' including football
news about 'Rushden & Diamonds' team

Information - Splash Pool & Pemberton Centre

ENC (Council) travel tokens - 20p & 50p

Information leaflets of St. Mary's Church

Programme card of Amenities Society

Programme card of Collectors' Circle

Coins of the realm

Boy's Brigade hat badge

A Tamagotchi 'Cyber Pet' (dead) *

A Yo-Yo - popular toy of 1998 **

Scout badges from Audrey Abbott

A red Remembrance Day poppy

A pair of tights

A Weetabix packet

A cigarette packet

A scratch card (Daily Mail)

Plastic shampoo bottle (Organics)

Two aluminium foil milk bottle tops

Catalogue of Keith Hill - aviation artist

National Lottery ticket

Credit and Cash card

Pair of spectacles

A phone card

Advertising leaflets from local shops

Till receipts from local supermarkets

Special offers of colourful food items

*TAMAGOTCHI - A Cyber pet (computerised toy) - Powered by a small battery. It is a "pet" and must be kept alive – instructions are enclosed. It was popular in 1997. **YO-YO : It is at least fifty years since the ‘YO-YO’ was first introduced. It had been forgotten for a time and now the latest one has been introduced. Recently there have been competitions to find the ‘YO-YO’ champions. The instructions are enclosed. It was very popular in 1998.

Three ‘Time Capsules’ have been planted at the site of the new £3 million swimming pool in Rushden.

The first has an official guide of East Northants, a year book, two photographs, two letters and a community charge form.

The second capsule holds a list of people present at the ceremony, an edition of the Evening Telegraph – purchased at the last minute, a plan of the old 1928 swimming pool and an East Northants tie.

The third capsule contains an Alfred McAlpine tie and other information.

From the Evening Telegraph, Tuesday February 20th 1990

Pool of history - RESIDENTS in Rushden could be reading the Valentine's Day edition of the Evening Telegraph in years to come.

But only because of a last minute dash to the newsagents by Bob Seery, director of technical services for East Northants Council.

CEREMONY ... Councillor chairman Phil Chantrell (left) with architect John Nisbet

Ken with the poster
Evening Telegraph, 7th March 1986


A TIME CAPSULE, with papers dating back to 1890, has been unearthed by demolition contractors working on Rushden's Queen Street schoolrooms.

The papers, found in good condition, were buried inside a hollowed-out memorial stone in the main front wall.

Demolition firm owner Ken Impey, pictured left, said "We have found a poster announcing the opening of the building on Monday, April 28,1890, and hymn books.

When demolition work is completed Rushden Independent Wesleyan Church officials plan to build a new church hall on the same site.

Ken Impey with the poster

Evening Telegraph, 5th April 2000

Imperial Court - Time capsule with a cuddly toy...
A Time capsule has been buried to mark the start of work on a new housing complex for the elderly.

At present, it is just a muddy building site, but by the beginning of next year a £3m state-of-the-art sheltered housing block will be built in Duck Street, Rushden.

The 41 flats are being built by Touchstone Housing Association and will be managed by ExtraCare, the charity which already manages Rosewood Court, Wellingborough, and Sunley Court, Kettering.

Inside the capsule is a cuddly toy, a stone inscribed with the ExtraCare logo, and a copy of the Evening Telegraph's sister paper the Citizen.

The development will be adorned by replicas of the murals, painted by local schoolchildren, which are currently on the hoardings on Duck Street.

Touchstone programme manager Ray Brown said: "The scheme will offer a wide range of facilities, including a fitness suite, Jacuzzi and spa area."

The flats will open in February.

Time Team - from left, district Councillor Anna Saunston,
County Councillor Robina Foot,
Andy Hillier of ExtraCare and,
with the time capsule, Ray Brown of Touchstone Housing

From The Evening Telegraph : 21st November 2002

A Time Capsule has been buried under a former chapel which is being converted into flats.

East Northamptonshire Council chairman Susan North did the honours at the Little Street develop­ment in Rushden where nine flats are to be built at the Old Baptist Chapel.

The capsule's contents included a programme of the event, a key ring, old photographs of the chapel and property prices.

Part of the development by Servite Housing has included exhumation of three bodies from 19th century graves.

Regional development manager Adrian Redmond said: "Because of the history we thought it would be appropriate to assemble a few bits and pieces and bury them.

"In years to come they might be dug up and cause a bit of interest".

Burying the capsule
Cllr. Susan North buries the capsule assisted by Adrian Redmond, of Servite Housing

From The Herald & Post : 12th June 2003

Children on the site where the capsule was buried
School children made history last week with a helping hand from the Herald & Post.

Students from schools in Rushden and Higham Ferrers buried a time capsule cotaining day-to-day artifacts including a copy of the paper, under the the new £10 million Rushden & Higham Ferrers bypass.

As Ferrers School Folk Band played the capsule containing various items symbolising 2003 was buried under the middle of one of the new roundabouts. It is hoped school children in 60 or 100 years time will hold a similar ceremony to uncover the time capsule and learn from their 21st century colleagues.

The Highways Agency is aiming to open the A6 Rushden-Higham Ferrers bypass by early August. The 3.4 mile route will be part dual carriageway and part single carriageway taking approximately 20,000 vehicles away from the old road.

Highways Agency project sponsor Mike Hall said: "We have tried to keep the community informed throughout the building of this entire scheme and I thank all residents in the two towns for their patience and understanding. I am sure it will be worth the wait. It's also good news that local school children have enthusiastically taken part in the time capsule project and I hope that it serves as a little piece of history for the two towns."

Rushden Reporter, January 2013
photos by Dominic Osbourne

7th Rushden Scouts bury timecapsule

To commemorate the date 12/12/12, 7th Rushden Scout Group buried a time capsule at their headquarters on December 12!
7th Rushden Scouts
7th Rushden Scouts with signed Group Necker
The capsule contained nothing of monetary value but held loads of interesting memorabilia, to be opened by the residing District Commissioner in 25 years time.

The capsule was sealed and witnessed by the current District Commissioner Chele Height. During the evening the scouts made teas, coffees, toasted marshmallows and roasted chestnuts for their guests.

Andrew Davies (7th Rushden Scout Group Leader) sealing the capsule with Chele Height (Nene Valley District Scouts, Commissioner)

The Rushden Echo, 12th August 1898, transcribed by Kay Collins

Curious Hoax at Rushden Twenty-Five Years Ago - Just Come To Light
A common custom when memorial stones of new place of worship or public building of any description are laid is that a large bottle should be put in a hole left in the masonry, and that the bottle, properly sealed, should contain official memoranda of the event, current newspapers, and coins of the various values each bearing on its face the year of the occurrence. This course was adopted when the memorial stones of the Independent Wesleyan chapel in High-street, Rushden, were laid in 1873. This chapel, as most of our readers know, is now being demolished to make room for a more commodious structure. A few days ago members of the Building Committee assembled to witness the removal of the old memorial stones and to secure the papers, coins. &c., which had been placed there 25 years before.

A Surprise
awaited them, however, for it was found that the bottle was missing, and that, instead of the papers and coins, there was a rough piece of date on which had been scratched a message to the effect that the work of building had been very dry and hinting pretty plainly that the writers had appropriated the bright new coins for refreshment of a liquid character. That the coins had been placed there 25 years back was within the recollection of some of the committee so that after the stone-laying the workmen must have raised the stones, extracted the bottle, and then covered up their little trick.

The message on the slate was as follows:-
"Oehkes" [? Hoax] to the poor foundation stone. We had no beer, and that made us all feel very queer." This was alleged to be signed by four or five of the men employed on the building.

Rushden Echo, 31st March 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson

A copy of the "Rushden Echo" was on Tuesday placed in one of the foundation stones of the New Public Library.

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