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Capsule reveals historic news

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:31 05 July 2010

John Holmes with Steven Last and Peter Baker

John Holmes with Steven Last and Peter Baker

DEMOLITION of a building in Kirkley has unearthed some hidden memories from halcyon days of the past.

When workers were tasked with knocking down St Matthews Church, in Clifton Road they were soon sent on a mercy mission to discover a hidden time capsule.

DEMOLITION of a building in Kirkley has unearthed some hidden memories from halcyon days of the past.

When workers were tasked with knocking down St Matthews Church, in Clifton Road they were soon sent on a mercy mission to discover a hidden time capsule.

And to their amazement, a handmade glass bottle which contained two rolled up newspaper pages and a certificate, was recovered - dating back to 1898.

Fast forward 110 years, as the certificate and preserved pages of The Lowestoft Journal and Yarmouth and County Record and The Lowestoft Standard and East Suffolk Conservative Courier were handed over to local historian John Holmes.

On Friday, at the Hatfield Hotel, officials from demolition company Sutton Services Ltd arranged a presentation event to hand over a piece of Kirkley's history.

The time capsule, which was found in the church by employees Steven Last and Ryan Moyse, contained three documents - the two newspapers, which were dated October 1, 1898 and cost 1p each - and a certificate commemorating the laying of the foundation stone by Edward Kerrison Harvey JP.

The Journal understands that information from locals had prompted the workers to look for a time capsule and it was eventually found at the bottom of an end wall.

And after finding the artefacts, the company decided they wanted to present it to someone who was interested in the town's history.

Mr Holmes said: “I was extremely pleased that all who were concerned with this event had been so thoughtful and ensured that a small piece of Kirkley's history was preserved.

“It wasn't just the content of the

bottle that made this event such a pleasant experience but those who made it happen - my sincere thanks to all.”

Research from Mr Holmes has discovered that the church was completed in 1899 as a mission church in a poor area of Kirkley.

“The rood screen was brought from St Peter's - the parish church - and re-installed in the new mission church,” he said. “It had been a memorial to the wife of Edward Kerrison Harvey who lived in one of the large houses on the Esplanade.”

Historically buildings in Kirkley were prestigious properties designed by Sir Morton Peto - but the mission church was built to help others and bring everyone together.

“Some people have perhaps overlooked the fact that the church did a lot in Kirkley,” Mr Holmes said.

“Kirkley was called little London due to its beautiful properties, which were very elite at that time. It was going to be a town in it's own right and have it's own town hall, and this church was built to bring everyone together,” he added.

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