Pupils take a step back in time

Thornley Primary School pupil Ryan Hogg pictured holding the newspaper with classmates (left to right) Nadia Ismail, Holly Carr, Jay-J Welsh, Jade Peachey and West Miller
Thornley Primary School pupil Ryan Hogg pictured holding the newspaper with classmates (left to right) Nadia Ismail, Holly Carr, Jay-J Welsh, Jade Peachey and West Miller

WORKERS digging up a school building got quite a surprise when they discovered a time capsule put together more than 130 years ago.

Builders were carrying out work on the nursery building at Thornley Primary School, in Cooper’s Terrace, Thornley.

As they were drilling they accidently broke through the foundation stone, which was the centre point in the nursery’s garden.

But unbeknown to them and staff at the school, concreted inside the stone was a bottle with a number of fascinating historical items.

The capsule included a newspaper from 1876, a number of coins and a letter from the headteacher of the school in 1928.

School staff believe the capsule was put together in 1876 but was then dug up when changes were made to the school in 1926.

It was then put back in the foundation stone in 1928 with a note from headteacher Daniel Hagon.

The note from Mr Hagon, head at the school for 39 years, read: “This stone was removed during alterations to the school and replaced in the present position on Oct 2 1928.”

Current headteacher, Jennifer Pearce, said they had no idea as to what was inside the foundation stone.

Mrs Pearce said: “I couldn’t believe it, I came into school and the workers said they had found something inside a stone.

“The foundation stone had broken up because of the digger and there was a bottle inside it.

Mrs Pearce said all of the staff were very excited about the find and she held an assembly on Thursday morning to show all of the children.

She added: “It’s absolutely fascinating to think this was laid all those years ago.

“We had a good read of the Durham County Advertiser from 1876 which was left with the coins and the letter from Mr Hagon.”

Youngsters at the school were also extremely excited by the find.

Thomas Lowther, a Year 3 pupil at the school, said: “It was very exciting.

“It would be brilliant if we made our own time capsule. Now we have ideas of what we could put in.”

Year 5 pupil Ryan Hogg added: “It’s a bit freaky, it’s not often you find a message in a bottle.

“I thought this sort of thing only happened in films.”

Mrs Pearce added: “It’s going to be nice to have the items on display in the school for all the children to have a close look at.”