Preserving memories: Readers share their time capsule stories

Picture of a Matchbox car and a halfpenny, representing what John buried in his time capsule Image copyright John Carver
Image caption John buried a Matchbox car and a halfpenny in his time capsule

Many people around the world make time capsules with items included in them, hoping someone will find them many years later.

A Blue Peter Millennium time capsule has been accidentally dug up 33 years earlier than planned. It was buried under the Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, in 1998 and was not supposed to be unearthed until 2050.

We asked people to share their stories and to tell us what they included in their time capsules. Here are some of the responses we received.

"Halfpenny and a Matchbox car"

John Carver, 59, buried his time capsule 51 years ago. It included many items including crayons as he thought there would not be colours in the future. He never found the capsule.

"I buried a time capsule when I was about eight. The contents included, as far as I can remember, crayons, a halfpenny and a Matchbox car.

"They were 'securely' packaged in a Marmite jar which then came with a metal lid. It was buried in the lawn of the family home, which has recently been sold, never to be seen again.

"Within a very short time the hole I had dug disappeared and I could never accurately pinpoint where it was.

"It was the family home for 56 years and over the years, I have always thought about it."

Message to the future

Mike Simpson and his son Thomas created a time capsule hoping that a boy from the future would find it one day and read it. The capsule included a list of Thomas's favourite things, ranging from his favourite meal to his favourite TV show, which is Doctor Who.

"Thomas was just starting to get interested in history so this was a project that helped him to understand the passage of time and consider how a house can be home to many different families over a century," Mike says.

Image copyright Mike Simpson

"Eight years ago when Thomas was five we moved into our present home, which dates from the 1890s. Removing old plaster to add a damp course revealed some gaps between the Victorian bricks where mortar had crumbled.

"We created a letter to a little boy from the future, listing Thomas's name, school, favourite food, favourite TV show among other things.

Image copyright Mike Simpson
Image caption Thomas pictured with his favourite items, some of which he buried in the time capsule

"We carefully folded this up and sealed it in a plastic bag with one of his school photos and a penny dated that year. This was pushed between two bricks and then plastered over.

"Hopefully decades from now someone will find a message from the past."

"Bury it properly"

Aged about 10, Angus Macdonald, now 50, buried his time capsule in his parents' back garden in Singapore in 1976.

"It was a big glass jam jar, buried only about a foot down, and it contained the front page of that day's newspaper and a few other personal bits and pieces.

"I imagine it has probably been found by now and probably thrown away as junk. Or else it has broken and its contents long decomposed.

"One day, I would like to go back and see whether it is still there, but I guess it would be a bit odd to ask the current occupants of the house whether I could dig up their garden!

"I think time capsules are a great idea - but you need to do it properly, bury them in a place where they are unlikely to be discovered, set a date for opening them that is not too far away and ensure the fact of their existence is recorded somewhere, especially with family or friends."

Hidden under the staircase

Image copyright Raymond Green
Image caption Ray Green's staircase where he hid his time capsule

Ray Green placed a time capsule under his home's staircase in 1992. While altering the staircase of his then new house, he took photos of the construction work at the time, along with a picture of him and his wife and other items.

"In the capsule there are pictures of me and my wife, a copy of the Liverpool Echo, pictures of the construction and a letter I wrote explaining the work that was carried out.

"There was also a good luck message to anyone finding it and deciding to alter the staircase again, mainly because I had such a swine of a job doing it."

Produced by UGC & Social news team

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