What's a cassette tape please sir?

October 27 2020

PUPILS from Cherry Garden Primary School in Bitton have dug up some time capsules as part of their 40th birthday celebrations.

Fascination as a time capsule is unearthed at Cherry Garden Big Dig

The school reached the milestone birthday at the start of the school year in September, but due to being in lockdown since March it was decided that the celebrations would tie in with the digging up of some time capsules that were buried in the school grounds 20 years ago on October 20, 2000. 

The school invited Mrs Liz Strover, a former member of staff whose grandchildren attend the school, to join them for the morning - or 'The Big Dig' as the children labelled it. 

Headteacher Tom Hutchings said: “The children had been very excited about digging up something that had laid in the school grounds for 20 years. There was a plaque in the grounds that showed where the time capsules were buried, so we did a 'live video assembly' to show the capsules being dug up. The only problem was, we couldn't find them! 

“After about 10 minutes of digging, we paused the assembly and let the children go out to play while I kept on digging. After two hours of spade work, we eventually found them, nearly six feet away from where the plaque was laid! Once we had found them, we then brought the children out a bubble at a time to see them being brought out of the ground.”

Children examine the finds

There were three time capsules in total, and all of the children were there to witness a capsule actually coming out of the ground. According to the record from the original school book, the three capsules were for different groups – one for KS1, KS2 and teacher capsule. The KS2 one is very badly corroded, but the school hope to dry out the contents and have a look at the paperwork. The other two have survived better, including a cassette (which hardly any of the children recognised!).

Mr Hutchings also said the children found it fascinating to hear 'voices from the past’ and that they were very excited. He added: “We laid out the contents of the capsules in the hall, and the children have been viewing the materials a class at a time. It has been lovely to see their fascination with our school's history and to see them noticing similarities and differences between what they have in school now and what is in the capsule. 

“Many of our staff have a link to the contents, either because they were working in the school at the time, or because their children attended the school and they have found pictures of their children. They have already loved the memories that these capsules have jogged about particular children or other staff members. Several of the parents have also chatted with interest about the capsules, partly because the children have talked about it a lot over the last week, but also because several of them wrote work as an ex-pupil of the school that then ended up in the capsules!”

Next term, the school will also be burying another time capsule to be dug up in 2055, to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary.

Mr Hutchings said: “I am sure that much will change over the next 35 years, and especially with the current situation with Coronavirus, I'm sure the things we put in will give the children of the future a fascinating window back in time. 

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate 40 years as a school, and whilst it's clear that many things have changed and evolved over the last 40 years, the school has always been such a welcoming and happy place with a real emphasis on its local community.” 

To find out more about the school, visit: https://www.cherrygardenprimary.co.uk

Mr Hutchings