Great Britain

A time capsule buried at Newcastle Cathedral won't be opened until 2121

Newcastle Cathedral has just buried a time capsule of objects, with instructions for it not to be opened for the next 100 years

Who knows what the world will be like in 100 years time - and how people then will look back on these times?

Newcastle Cathedral has just buried a time capsule with instructions for it not to be opened until the year 2121.

The time capsule comes after a difficult year, but now the cathedral is set to reopen this summer, having been closed to the public since March 2020 – partly due to the pandemic, but also to allow for a major £6m redevelopment supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Alongside daily Christian worship and choral music, visitors can look forward to an exciting programme of events and activities inspired by the city and Cathedral’s heritage – including guided tours of the Lantern Tower.

Earlier this year, a public appeal called 'Back To The Future' was launched to find items, object and artefacts that would provide a snapshot of Newcastle in the present day.

Now that the time capsule has been buried, the Cathedral is able to shine a spotlight on the contributors and their contributions.

Anke Sayn Rainbow

Anke is not from the UK originally, but considers herself an “adopted Geordie”. She chose to contribute a painted copper version of the Tyne Bridge which she calls “a major symbol of engineering triumph and industrial pride".

Greg Witherspoon

Greg’s contribution is a sketch featuring some of Newcastle’s landmark buildings: “The skyline is constantly changing, so it can be a snapshot for future generations to look at.

“Despite this sketch being completed in early 2020, the skyline has already changed with the addition of the dramatic Hadrian's Tower residential complex.”

Melissa Kynes

Melanie runs The Fashion Lab, a contemporary textiles studio based at Orbis, Commercial Union House. She had a hand-embroidered star put forward by Orbis co-director Jonpaul Kirvan.

“There were ten Northern stars created that were then gifted to people locally, forming a constellation.”

Multiminded Design

Multiminded Design – Fiona Birkbeck and Jim Bell – based in Ouseburn’s Mushroom Works studios, created a layered wooden ornament/scene of the Cathedral, made up of layered etched wood.

“We’re fanatical about the North East, and the Cathedral can be seen from miles around,” says Jim.

Fiona adds: “When you’ve been out of the city and you’re driving back in, it’s one of those symbols that you see and straight away you know that you’re home.”

Zoë Cotterill

Zoë is based between Hull and Newcastle and has earned a large following – particularly on Instagram – for her drawings of Tyneside architecture.

“It’s been really great for me to contribute to the time capsule because I’m not originally from Newcastle,” she says. The print of hers that has been buried includes depictions of the Tyne Bridge, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Millennium Bridge, Sage Gateshead and Newcastle Castle.

The time capsule contains many other contributions from local artists, which will be showcased in a digital exhibition accessible via QR code at the Cathedral later this year.

Additional items include objects that represent the world in which we’re living right now – such as an empty COVID-19 vaccine vial and a Brexit 50 pence coin.

Also enclosed are documents related to the Cathedral – including choir pamphlets and architects’ building plans donated by Historic Property Restoration Ltd, who buried the capsule last week.

Visitors will be able to see the outcome of the historic transformation when the Cathedral reopens this summer. For the latest news and developments about the project, visit here.

Don't forget to check out our Memory Lane local history website that's packed with archive photographs and has an easy-to-use picture colourisation tool.

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