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Time Capsule 2019

2019 marks two important events for Suffolk Record Office – the 900th anniversary of the oldest document in the collections, the Eye Charter (below – exact birth date unknown!), and the development of ‘The Hold‘.  It is also the 1,150th anniversary of the death of East Anglia’s (and England’s first) patron saint, Saint Edmund.

To capture a snapshot of life in Suffolk during this important year, Record Office staff worked with the 8 Graduates from the Suffolk Graduate Partnership Scheme to develop time capsules at multiple locations.  They were buried simultaneously on February 28th as we said goodbye to winter (we hope) and hello to spring!  The intention is that the capsules will be uncovered in 100 years’ time, by Suffolk residents of the future.

Over the last 6 months, the Graduates have worked with schools and community partners in the following locations to develop content for the capsules:

  • Bury St Edmunds
  • Eye
  • Felixstowe
  • Framlingham
  • Haverhill
  • Ipswich
  • Lowestoft
  • Mildenhall
  • Stowmarket

They have worked to capture what pupils and partners feel is important about where they live, and what they would like the people of the future to understand about the place.  And of course, the history of a place is an important part of what people like about where they live, so the contents look backwards as well as forwards – with contributions ranging from historic photographs and oral history recordings, to letters to the Suffolk people of the future.

Some tasters of the capsule contents will appear here on this page after burying day (….but not everything, otherwise there will be no surprise in 100 years!).

The Graduates, from Universities all over the UK but now living in Suffolk, are part of the Rising High in Suffolk scheme, which provides graduates with placements spanning the police, several councils, and the health sector.  Catherine Paddon, one of the graduates, said:

“For me, the Time Capsule project has been a really interesting way to get involved in stakeholder engagement outside of the organisation; seeing which aspects of the local area matter to local people and why.  It has led me to understand that what people may consider to be ‘history’ can be different to that which a classical definition or a history degree, like mine, may suggest.”

Pupils from Oulton Broad Primary School working on their capsule contents

Pupils at Langer Primary Academy working on their capsule contents

Small artefacts and digital contributions to the capsules have also been included; and as we can’t guarantee USB sticks and DVDs will be around in 100 years’ time, the contents will be duplicated in the Record Office’s digital preservation system, Preservica and encrypted for a period of 100 years.  Special thanks are due to the fabulous team at Ipswich Makerspace for engraving the capsules with the Suffolk crest and to Chronicle Digital Storytelling for capturing digital stories for the capsules and our archives.

The time capsules were all buried on February 28th (March 7th in the case of Haverhill) – photos from the events can be found on Suffolk County Council’s Flickr page here.

Residents of Cotman House Nursing Home holding the time capsule

Children from Langer Primary Academy, with the time capsule and ceremonial spade