A treasure trove of artefacts was opened up for the first time in 150 years as a historic Hartlepool building celebrated a new lease of life.
A time capsule discovered during the £1million renovation of Morison Hall on the Headland was unveiled during the building’s official opening as apartments.
It was found to contain several newspapers, a fragment of bone believed to be from the site of Hartlepool’s Anglo Saxon monastery, and a florin coin.
Pupils from St Bega’s RC Primary School on the Headland also presented a new time capsule to mark the occasion.
Teaching assistant Sarah Izzett said: “The children have all written their own letter saying what they think the future will be like and including a picture of themselves.
“We have included one of every coin, a newspaper and information about various icons like Stephen Hawking, the Queen and astronaut Tim Peake, so we have tried to be current.”
Morison Hall, which dates back to 1860, was originally a Methodist Chapel and a number of Methodist books were found contained within the time old capsule.
Mark Simmons, museums manager at Hartlepool Borough Council, painstakingly cut through the capsules zinc lining.
There was also a large poster advertising the opening of the hall and a public tea and a small tin which contained small pieces of leather from a number of worshippers’ bibles.
Among the newspapers was a well preserved copy of the Stockton and Hartlepool Mercury from August 26, 1859.
Mark said: “I have never seen an actual copy of this. It was a short run newspaper and not many copies survived.”
Morison Hall has been converted into eight two-bedroom apartments in a project by building owners Hartlepool New Deal for Communities (NDC) Trust and registered social landlord Thirteen.
Jon Fitzmaurice OBE, of the Self Help Housing Organisation, which helped secure around £300,000 from the Government’s Empty Homes Community Grant programme, said: “Community-led housing projects are really important and this is an inspiration what you guys have done.
“It is a fantastic partnership.”
Stuart Drummond, of Hartlepool NDC, said: “The general feeling is people are delighted to see it back in use again.”