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A Gift for the Future

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

Somewhat ambitiously for Bridlington, the town was looking forward to the year 2197 when a time capsule was buried in the path leading to the Town Hall.

A stone tablet marks the spot stating that the capsule was buried in 1947, "marking the beginning of the Atomic Age."

Councillor F. F. Millner, the Mayor, said at the ceremony that it was a "peculiar experience writing to someone who would be mayor of this borough in 250 years time."

He went on to add: "I do not fear the atomic age from the viewpoint of destruction. I believe we are at the beginning of a very great scientific movement in that we can use atomic energy in nature to do good and to do our work. During the 250 years which will pass before the capsule is opened there will be great scientific advances."

It was at 12.15pm on Saturday, November 11, 1947, that the capsule was buried. It was 12in x 9in x 9in in size (300 x 230 x 230mm) and completely weatherproof. Mr D. Bowden, the manager of the Regal Cinema (on Promenade; at the time of writing, February 2000, it is the Gala Bingo Hall), had arranged the scheme, assisted by Mr S. Tenser, assistant manager. No-one knows what the mayor wrote to his future counterpart, but along with his message went the following:

  • a photograph of the mayor and members of the council and chief officials
  • a street plan
  • an aerial photograph of the town
  • the municipal year book
  • an official guide a Bridlington guide for 1939
  • the electoral register for 1947
  • the Medical Officer for Health's report
  • the annual report of the public library
  • Rock's print of the entrance to the harbour
  • "The Dissolution of Bridlington Priory" by J. S. Purvis
  • a negative film of civic buildings and other places, including the prefabricated houses
  • a copy of the corporation accounts
  • engravings by J. Stephenson from drawings by G. Bulmer of the harbour
  • three maps of Bridlington and district
  • new coins of 1947
  • a book of the film "The Beginning or The End"
  • picture postcards of the town
  • a typical cafe menu of the day
  • a schedule of the Chrysanthemum Show
  • "The Roman Villa of Rudston" by F. R. Pearson (known to the writer as "Clippy," he was history master at Bridlington School in 1948)
  • "Bridlington Charters" by J. S. Purvis
  • Prickett's "History of the Priory"
  • Thompson's "Sketches of Bridlington"
  • George Hardwick's "What to See in Bridlington"
  • a triangle badge of Associated British Cinemas Ltd.
  • The film of the civic buildings will not be much use in 2000 without the relevant projector and even less use in another 200 years time.

The prefabricated houses referred to, of course, were constructed just after the war to provide emergency accommodation. To the best of the writer's knowledge, they lasted many more years than intended. They were erected where part of the Gypsey Road estate is now and on Jubilee Avenue. No doubt many Bridlington residents will remember them with either affection or disgust.

The one item the writer would like to see is the cafe menu from 1947. What would it consist of? Starter: Bowl of Brown Windsor Soup or Pea Soup? Main course: Fish and Chips with Bread and Butter or Meat Pie and Boiled Potatoes? Sweet: Spotted Dick and Custard? It's fairly certain that the meal would end with a Pot of Tea for Two.

If we were to bury a time capsule today, what would be put in it?  There are several books about Bridlington currently available, many of them with illustrations of days gone by. But what about how Bridlington looks today? There's a multitude of picture postcards, some videos (remember to put a video player in the capsule - and simple instructions!), and, of course, the current Bridlington guide.

Copies of the local newspaper should go in too. Funny how there was no mention of either the Bridlington Chronicle or the Bridlington Free Press in the capsule buried in 1947.