Time capsule found at Londonderry's Brooke Park

Time capsule Image copyright DCSD Council
Image caption The discovery was part of a planned excavation of the old orphanage site

A time capsule believed to be nearly 200-years-old has been discovered at a city centre park in Derry.

The capsule, dating back to 1840, was discovered in the foundations of a building in Brooke Park as part of a planned excavation.

The site was originally home to a boys orphanage which was demolished in 1986.

The lead cylinder has yet to be opened but it is thought to contain coins and papers from the time.

Colin Kennedy, the parks development manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said they were very excited by the discovery.

"Last Thursday we committed to a one day excavation on the North east corner of the former Gwyn's institute. We knew from the papers at the time that there was a time capsule placed in the foundation stone and low and behold we found it carved into the stone itself.

"As yet the time capsule is yet to be opened and our colleagues in the heritage and museum service will look into that because obviously it needs to be opened in a very sensitive manner that we don't destroy it or its contents inside."

Image caption Hopes are high that the capsule can be opened in the next few days

Mr Kennedy said that a rattling sound. which comes from the capsule when it is gently shaken, suggests it might contain coins.

"We know broadly speaking what it would contain but not the detail, traditionally this was a thing done in Victorian times where we would have coins of the day and some papers of the day.

"If you look at the one that was found in the Guildhall there's coins of the realm there as well so we can assume that there may well be money inside.

"We need to determine the timescale of when we open this but obviously everyone is very excited."

Contractors working as part of Guildhall Restoration project in October 2010 discovered a time capsule which provided a valuable glimpse into the building's past.

The glass vessel contained coins and documents that were placed on site at the laying of the the Guildhall's foundation stone 23 August 1887.

Most prized was the inclusion of a handwritten manuscript which sets out the background to the building of the Guildhall, revealing how a deputation from Londonderry Corporation visited The Honourable The Irish Society to ask for help in building a new town hall.

The contents of the capsule are on display on the first floor of the Guildhall.

Image caption A glass capsule discovered at the Guildhall contained coins as well as newspapers