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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
80-year-old treasure discovered
The inscription
Isambard Owen's initials (inset) are above the engraving
An inscription whose existence was doubted for more than 80 years has been discovered by workers on Bristol University's Wills Memorial Building.

The engraving is a tribute to then Vice Chancellor Sir Isambard Owen for his effort behind the building's existence.

It reads IO TRIVMPHE - the IO for his initials and TRIVMPHE for how the crowds in ancient Rome used to greet victorious returning generals.

It was found on the north face exterior of the building's 68m high tower.

'Statement of achievement'

A letter sent in 1925 found by Gethin Morgan, Emeritus Professor at Bristol University, who has been researching the inscription's existence proved crucial to its discovery.

The letter from Sir George Oatley, the building's architect, to Sir Isambard Owen, Bristol's then Vice-Chancellor responsible for the building's completion, acknowledges Sir George's wish that Sir Isambard should receive recognition for work.

The inscription was found on the north face exterior of the tower

Professor Gethin Morgan said: "Soon the scaffolding will be dismantled, and the inscription will once again normally be visible to the gods alone, perhaps not to be seen again by us for the best part of a century.

"But as a resounding statement of achievement and acclamation it will surely remain vivid in our minds and will continue to resonate throughout the whole of the University."


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