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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 19:01 GMT
Time capsule found at school
Time capsule
The bottle was found when building work began
A time capsule filled with letters and newspaper cuttings from the 1920s has been unearthed during building work at a school in south Wales.

The capsule was found at St. Martin's School in Caerphilly, when a JCB started dismantling a set of steps.

History teacher Matthew Ferris
History teacher Matthew Ferris
Teachers hope its contents can help bring to life the history of their town.

St. Martins opened its new school building in 1928, but the decision to carry out some work on the site led to the historical discovery.

The letters and cuttings in the old beer bottle, which was tightly bound in cotton, date from 1928.

In the messages that were found in the bottle, a former soldier called William Jenkins comments on his life 73 years ago.

Mr Jenkins, 52, was the clerk of works on the school building site and his jottings and clippings are a snapshot of a bygone age.
Events from 1928:
The births of revolutionary Che Guevara and artist Andy Warhol
The deaths of Thomas Hardy and Emmeline Pankhurst, British suffragette
The discovery of penicillin
The completion of Oxford English Dictionary
Mickey Mouse makes screen debut in Steamboat Willie

Among items included in the bottle were articles and adverts for state-of-the-art objects of the day, from zeppelins to valve radios, and the election of US president Hebert Hoover.

"Together with the instructions on how to build a three-valve radio, Mr Jenkins wrote: 'I can get 50 stations in Cowbridge, what can you do?' said Mr Ferris.

"He also asks: 'Have you got Home Rule for Wales yet?'

"Mr Jenkins offers us a feel for the age - he had served in the Great War and he was still clearly bitter about it 10 years on.

"In Wales in 1928, things were not great and they were just about to get worse with the Wall Street Crash to come."

Pupls at St Martin's have been spellbound by the images conjured up by the time capsule.

'Flaunted wealth'

"He didn't like the capitalist class, he said in his letter," said pupil Sheree-Ann Virgin.

"He didn't like the way they flaunted their pearls and diamonds," she added.

Finding the bottle has helped the school's history teachers bring their subject to life, as the thoughts and fears of their predecessors echo around the classroom.

History teacher Martin Ferris said they are now planning to make a new 2001 capsule for their own descendants to uncover.

The contents of the 1928 capsule will be logged on a CD Rom before being included in the capsule.

BBC Wales's Hywel Griffith
"St. Martin's opened their new school building in 1928..."
BBC Wales's Hwyel Griffiths reports.
"He was quite bitter, he fought in the war."
See also:

03 Jan 01 | Americas
Time capsule reveals secrets
07 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Pupils bury 'peace capsule'
04 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Blue Peter digs up the past
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