Time Capsule on the Promenade

Time Capsule on the Promenade

Some time ago, we received an email here at Visit Cleveleys about the contents of a time capsule on the prom. It was believed to have been buried when the very old promenade had been built, almost 100 years ago.

Ken Harcombe is a local volunteer with the RNLI. He’d been reading about the first development of the promenade at Cleveleys, way back in 1927.

Apparently, in the September of that year a time capsule had been built somewhere, with items of interest from the era. Ken wanted to know if had ever been found. More to the point, what were the contents, and what had happened to them!

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As you can imagine, it set off an investigation on the Visit Cleveleys Facebook page, where our intrepid readers joined in the trail. And we’d still like to know anything else that you could add to this story.

Mike Pollard was first to provide the next photo showing what was left of it. Apparently it used to be much taller but ended up like you can see it in the photo.

Mike Pollard's photo of the monument believed to contain the time capsule on the promenade. Taken before the last phase of Cleveleys seawall works began.
Mike Pollard’s photo of the monument believed to contain the time capsule on the promenade. Taken before the last phase of Cleveleys seawall works began.

And a close-up of the inscription –

Inscription on the monument from the 1927 seawall opening
Inscription on the monument from the 1927 seawall opening

Ralph Smedley (RIP) had told Mike that the capsule was in here. Mike understood that it was placed inside the foundation stone for the 1927 Cleveleys promenade by the then Cllr Rowbotham. The foundation stone was a monument at the top of Kingsway, which originally stood about 4 feet high. The sealed casket was made from oak and lead lined. It contained posters, town planning maps and newspapers.

Another possible site was believed to be the tall column opposite Jubilee Gardens. The contractors looked in there too when the sea defence works started, but nothing was found.

What do the engineers know about the Time Capsule on the promenade?

The trail then turned to Wyre Council, with a word in the ear of the engineers. The story of the time capsule had come up in 2005 when the most recent phase of sea defence works began.

After much investigation it was found at the boundary with Blackpool, although as Mike said, initial reports had placed it near Jubilee Gardens.

Unfortunately, it appears that the time capsule had been opened in the 1980s. At the time the whole monument was moved from opposite Jubilee Gardens, to its last place near the Blackpool boundary. When it was opened in 2005 it was empty. The next photos are from Wyre Council.

The monument is in storage at the Wyre depot at Fleetwood. There are no plans at this stage to include it in the new works.

The foundation stone to the 1927 seawall at Cleveleys. In its last place before the current seawall was built.
The foundation stone to the 1927 seawall at Cleveleys. In its last place before the current seawall was built.
The foundation stone to the 1927 seawall being opened, with the (empty) time capsule on the prom.
The foundation stone to the 1927 seawall being opened, with the (empty) time capsule on the prom.

A Seawall Built in Phases

The Fylde Coast is a long shoreline, so as you’d expect the sea defences have been built in phases over more than 100 years. Many of the improvement works have been carried out in response to serious incidents of flooding.

We’ve documented just a few sections of local sea wall construction. It’s interesting to see landmarks that you’ve forgotten, and how building techniques have evolved through time.

This is an interesting sequence of photos, of the seawall near The Venue being rebuilt after a collapse in 1947.

Fast forward to more modern times and you can see how the current sea defences at Cleveleys were built in these photos from 2007.

The most recent sections of seawall to be built were Princes Way at Anchorsholme, and the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme just north of Cleveleys.

Follow the link to find out more about the Rossall Project. It was the largest coastal defence scheme in the country during its time. You can also read about another time capsule embedded into the concrete there, by children from Northfold Primary School. And what they put inside it!

While you’re here…

Have a look at the Visit Cleveleys website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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