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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 14:01 GMT
Victorian time capsule found at school
Bishop of Liverpool James Jones
The Bishop of Liverpool: "Bottle a fascinating find"
The Bishop of Liverpool visited a Liverpool school on Monday where a Victorian time capsule was found buried in a former church foundation stone.

Belvedere School in Toxteth found the capsule in the foundations of St Paul's Church, which was demolished more than 20 years ago.

Experts from Liverpool Conservation Centre were called in by the school after a workman found the treasure - believed to date from 1846 - while preparing ground for a new school sports hall.

The capsule is a thick glass bottle with a red wax seal which was discovered, along with a brass plaque, in the foundation stone of the church - under the site of the school's tennis courts.

This is an exciting piece of church history

Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones

The site is now being developed as a sports hall for the pupils at Belvedere.

The school, a private day school for girls, was opened in 1880 housed in buildings built in the 1840s.

The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, Right Reverend James Jones, went to see the new discovery.

He said: "This is an exciting piece of church history.

"It is fascinating to find something from 150 years ago, and makes you realise we didn't start putting time capsules in the ground just at the millennium.

Fridge storage

"It was wonderful to see the excitement on the pupils' faces when they saw something that had been hidden for so long."

Gill Richards, head of the school, said: "We are extremely fortunate the builder with the digger noticed something in the ground and managed to retrieve the bottle without it being damaged.

"The bottle had been very cold while it was in the ground, so we put it in a fridge to keep it at the same temperature."

Wrapper of bottle found in Liverpool
The bottle was found in an old paper wrapping

Inside the bottle can be seen a newspaper, coins, and other bits of paper which include shipping times.

Local historian Andrew Durham said: "Our first inclination is to break the bottle open and get at what is inside.

"But the bottle is also a historical artefact and we don't want to break it.

"The paper is in there and the coins - but we can't see what else is inside.

"When the bottle is opened we hope to put this fascinating historical document on show."

Conservationists are now investigating how to open the bottle without damaging the contents.

Click here to go to Liverpool
See also:

22 Nov 01 | Wales
Time capsule found at school
03 Jan 01 | Americas
Time capsule reveals secrets
07 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Pupils bury 'peace capsule'
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