Treasured 850 Memories Buried for Future Generations

Published: 14 May 2024

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, time capsule, history, heritage, Brampton Park, 850 celebrations, anniversary.
Council Leader Simon Tagg is pictured burying the time capsule at Brampton Park with Mayor Simon White and Mayoress Tanya Morgan.

Memories of a momentous milestone in Newcastle-under-Lyme’s long history are being preserved for future generations to discover.

A time capsule – containing memorabilia from the borough’s year-long 850th anniversary celebrations – has been buried at Brampton Park, the home of Brampton Museum.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, working with partners and sponsors, co-ordinated an action-packed calendar of cultural, heritage and civic events throughout 2023 to help residents, businesses and visitors celebrate 850 years of our loyal and ancient borough. Activities included a medieval day, circus fun and surprises, a series of museum exhibitions and dance performances among many others.

Newcastle-under-Lyme was granted its first royal charter of incorporation – or birth certificate in very simple terms – in 1173 by King Henry II after a population grew around a “new castle” built by the Normans.

One of last year’s main projects, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, involved the creation of an accurate version of the important historical document due to its unknown whereabouts for centuries. Author and illustrator Glenn Martin James worked with schoolchildren and local historian Jim Worgan, while researching books written by Thomas Pape, to recreate the lost charter in English and Latin. They are on display at the Guildhall and in the Mayor’s Parlour at Castle House.

The time capsule – which will be unearthed in 2073 – contains a launch programme, bunting, a branded 2023 calendar, an 850 mug, photographs of events, details about the borough’s special Heart of England in Bloom campaign and a brochure for the New Vic Theatre’s revived “Astley’s Astounding Adventures” show as well as a special scouting badge marking the movement’s 850 acts of kindness initiative. It also contains information about the lost charter project.

The capsule is buried in the sensory garden, by the wisteria pergola, and is complemented by a commemorative headstone.

Council Leader Simon Tagg, who helped to bury it, has included a personal letter to residents of the borough in 2073 about his memories of the 2023 celebration.

He said: The 850th anniversary of Newcastle-under-Lyme was a once in a generation opportunity to bring our communities together in appreciation of the fantastic history of our town while giving the local economy a real boost. We organised a series of enjoyable events throughout the year which went down really well and helped to create a lovely, celebratory atmosphere fitting for the occasion.

 

The first royal charter gave special rights and freedoms to residents that went on to help shape the borough as we know it. Perhaps most notably this included the right to hold an outdoor market, a long-held tradition that’s still an important aspect of the town’s vitality and success, so it was fantastic to be able to recreate a historically accurate version of this key document.

 

Now that we’ve reflected on the many successes of the anniversary year, it’s important to preserve this special and historic moment in time and share it with residents in the future. I can think of no better home for the time capsule: just a few steps away from the wonderful Brampton Museum, which is a treasure trove of borough history, in the beautiful Brampton Park.”

The Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Heroes Awards, and a new statue of the late Queen Elizabeth II based on her 1973 visit to mark the borough’s octocentenary, were also born out of the 2023 celebrations.

More information about last year’s events is available on the Council’s website.