Time Capsule

Guildhall, Derry, Northern Ireland

A few days ago I answered a phone call from Craig McGuicken, Curator with Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museums Service. He told me that while doing building work on the Derry Guildhall a work crew had found a time capsule under the brickwork of the building. Inside the capsule were several newspapers of the time including; The Times, The Londonderry Standard, The Derry Journal and The Londonderry Sentinel. The Times, Standard and Journal were dated Monday, August 22, 1887 and the Sentinel Tuesday, August 23, 1887. In addition to the newspapers a set of coins (possibly the new circulation set commemorating Queen Victoria’s 1887 Golden Jubilee) and a rolled up manuscript were inside.

Water and mold damaged copy of The Times

At some point the glass container holding these items was cracked and water leaked inside creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Three of the four newspapers were in generally good condition, the fourth; a much larger paper was more significantly damaged. As there are copies of the newspapers in archives our focus was on the rolled manuscript.  

Tony carefully unrolling the manuscript

The team decided it was best to allow the scroll to dry before unrolling as one end was very wet and mold damaged. Once dry we took turns unrolling the item and placing it under light weight. For now the unrolled scroll is “resting” while a treatment plan is made in agreement with The Heritage and Museum Service. They are planning to put together an exhibition of all the items which will most likely be in the Guildhall. Further research on the history of the time capsule is taking place and a formal press release will be made within the next week.

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2 Responses to Time Capsule

  1. Are these newspapers in the capsule printed on pulp based paper, similar to paper today, or are they printed on a bit better paper? The Times looks to be in remarkably good condition except for the mold.

  2. Pingback: Finding the Library in old records | Derry & Raphoe Diocesan Library Project Blog

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