Sunderland Echo among time capsule contents dug up after 93 years at Monkwearmouth Hospital site
A time capsule containing important artefacts from when it was buried including, of course, a copy of the Sunderland Echo, has been unearthed after 93 years underground.
The newspaper, dated July 2, 1930, was in the capsule buried at Monkwearmouth Hospital. The capsule, a large glass jar sealed with wax, was beneath the foundation stone, laid by the then-Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII.
The contents are in excellent condition, including a programme and certificate from the ceremony held for laying the foundation stone.
The certificate was signed by those present at the ceremony, including John Priestman, a local shipbuilder and philanthropist.
Priestman helped significantly with building the hospital, donating the equivalent to millions of pounds in 2023, to causes and infrastructure in Sunderland. He officially opened the hospital in 1932.
The Echo’s headline, “Storm in a teacup over Prince’s visit”, concerns a dispute over who should make the presentations to the Prince of Wales at the ceremony for laying the foundation stone: Priestman or the mayor.
Also found were a copy of the hospital’s 1929 annual report and three coins from the period.
No date is known to have been set for the capsule to be unearthed.
However, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) is redeveloping the hospital. It says older buildings on the site are no longer fit for purpose and were not designed to provide mental health and disability services.
The hospital was originally used to treat trauma and orthopaedic patients, but now provides a range of mental health and disability services, including an inpatient unit for older people with problems such as anxiety, depression and psychosis.
Lynn Brandt, site manager at Monkwearmouth Hospital, said: “I was so excited to hear that a time capsule had been found on site. It’s been really interesting to see what someone living in the 1930s thought was important enough to bury for future generations to discover.
“I was hoping to see some photographs or a letter from the people who buried it. I was slightly surprised that everything in the capsule was so formal and official.
“We’re planning to bury a new capsule which will include more sentimental, personal touches, including a letter to the future and some photographs of our staff at Monkwearmouth.”