Time capsule discovery – a glimpse of Liverpool life, 1856

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Visitors were given a glimpse of Liverpool's history with this time capsule, which was recently acquired by the museum and went on display until 27 July 2015 as part of the Festival of Archaeology.  

This intriguing time capsule was recently unearthed by builder John Connell during renovation work at the ‘Scandinavian Hotel’ on the corner of Nelson Street in the city centre. Developer, Downing converted the building into student accommodation, The Arch, after it lay derelict for many years.

The building was originally constructed as a workshop, warehouse and showroom for Abbott’s Cabinet Makers. The foundation stone, embedded with the time capsule, was laid on Tuesday 9 December, 1856 by the owner Samuel Abbott Esquire. Several members of the Abbott family, along with Henry Summers, Architect and Jones and Co, builders were also present. 

The items chosen by the family to put in the time capsule all reveal something about life in the city. Newspaper advertisements from that day are concerned with goods for sale for the upcoming Christmas festivities including Christmas Ale, ‘fine flavoured and much-esteemed ale largely in demand’ and ‘Five thousand pairs of India rubber galoshes at 2s and 6d per pair’ at Pentony’s Boot and Shoe Warehouse, Commutation Row.

The time capsule - a glass jar with cork stopper contains:

  • Liverpool Daily Post newspaper, Tuesday December 9, 1856
  • Handwritten parchment document describing the laying of the foundation stone and those present.
  • Sixpence coin dated 1856
  • 3d (threepeny bit) coin dated 1856

What would you put in a time capsule to tell people in the future about life in Liverpool today?