Hospital Uncovers an 120 Year Old Time Capsule


| LAST UPDATE 07/28/2023

By Sophia Brown
Aneurin Bevan Hospital Healthcare
David Cole via Shutterstock

A time capsule filled with remnants of a different time was found during construction work at a new health center in Wales. As 20th-century people are far too impatient, time capsules are usually planted in the ground for 5 to 10 years tops. However, this time capsule, planted underneath one of the four foundations of an old hospital, was left for 120 years - forgotten and lost in time. Planted in 1904 at the Tredegar Cottage Hospital, the capsule contained old coins and newspapers that are completely preserved. While the hospital is now a cultural and heritage centre designed for future optimization, the building has still got its roots in the past. 

When conservators opened the time capsule, they found recently produced Edward VII coins created in 1903 and some even older Victorian coins. As very rare and difficult to find, the value of the coins is very high so conservators are glad they rediscovered the capsule first. The time capsule also contained four tightly rolled-up newspapers: the Tredegar Argus, the Western Mail, the South Wales Daily News, and the Merthyr Express. While all the newspaper’s names have changed in modern times, they all still exist today for Welsh readers. 

Old Hospital Wales NHS
Photo by Meruyert Gonullu via Pexels
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The architect of the proficient National Health Service (NHS), Aneurin Bevan, was born at the old hospital. Bevan was just six years old when the time capsule was filled and planted. The discovery of the capsule comes just a few weeks after the 75th anniversary of the NHS, where a new train in Bevan’s name was unveiled. The person to unveil the train was the very first baby born in the NHS, 75-year-old Aneira Thomas.

Peter Meehan, an accredited conservator from Cardiff University, said, “What we discovered was that the lead was really tightly bound into the pot.” He continued, “And when they sealed it there was no top on the pot so it was wedged in really tightly. The 120-year-old capsule is now on display at the town's local museum, where you can check it out if you're interested in learning about the history of the area.” However, the plan is to eventually put the items on display in the reception area of the cultural centre where it was planted all those years ago.

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