Millennium Project School Time Capsule

The Compton and Shawford Parish 2000 All Saints’ School Time Capsule Project

This is the text of a talk about the school time capsule project given by Eric Caldwell to 33 children and their teacher Mrs Caroline Cawthorne at the School on Thursday 6th April.

Hello and Good Morning to you all. I have a kind of story to tell you and, as with all stories, we should start at the beginning. Now that beginning was really some months ago when a small group of people living locally came together and wondered how local people would like to mark Millennium Year then fast approaching.

They thought that bringing together things which represent our everyday life for future generations to study and enjoy would be a popular idea. However, if it could be carried out as a project by local schoolchildren – and the items represented their world as they saw it – this would be very popular indeed. Hence the idea of a time capsule and our theme -: A Snap Shot of our Village Through Children’s Eyes.

school shildren with the time capsule
Eric Caldwell, left and schoolchildren with the timecapsule. Photo: M Bell

Now a time capsule is just a strong container which can protect its contents from flood, fire and tempest so to speak. Ours will be two feet long and eight inches in diameter and we have an ideal place to bury it. As you know, the Village Hall has been rebuilt and the entrance has been paved with an interesting mosaic of blue, buff, red and brown bricks which includes a maze.

We can bury our capsule there, probably with a small plaque on the wall to mark its position. We will also advise the International Time Capsule Society at Atlanta USA of its position but the really exciting thing is that you can be there when it is dug up in 50 years time!

So what would we like from you ? Basically we want a snapshot of our village through your eyes. This can be in writing, drawing painting or in any way you think is suitable. You may feel that this community is also part of the bigger world outside and wish to include some aspect of that world. You may also wonder what things will be like for someone like yourself in 50 years time. How will they travel, what will they eat, where will they shop (Sainsbury’s may not survive!) and what will they buy. How will they spend their time and will school be different (if so, in what ways?). You may also like to mention your hopes and dreams for the future.

Eric and the Head , students and the time capsule
Eric Caldwell, head teacher Gerry Sollom and two students with the time capsule.

Unfortunately in life there are always “No-Nos”. In this case items which will affect other items stored with them. Thus ordinary paper (particularly newspapers) should be avoided and Acid Free Paper used instead. I have brought a supply along but please practice on ordinary paper first! Again I’m told that ordinary pencil and water colours are long-lasting but biros and felt tip pens are not. In the same way, black and white prints last much longer than those in colour and finally rubber and plastics give off acidic fumes in time and should be avoided.

But just think of the exciting challenge that faces you. We want you to let your imagination fill our capsule. We are really looking forward to your suggestions and the items that you provide. GOOD LUCK!

The project is well on the way and funding has been underwritten by The Parish Council, Eric Caldwell and Martin Bell. The cost of the project will be about £350 and we would be delighted to receive individual contributions of say £5 to £10 from people and groups who would like to support this project. Please approach Eric or Martin with donations. A list of contributors would be included in the capsule itself. There may be a small space left when the children have finished, so if anyone has an interesting idea on how to fill a small gap, we would be delighted to hear.

Martin Bell