February

"Forming a partnership with the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon was seen as a natural progression and it is the first step towards creating what will be a unique service

Fi Harris, spokesperson for Scotland Online

HISTORIC DISCOVERY |

1862 time capsule found

Demolition work reveals a snapshot of Victorian Birmingham life

News

A f bee fascinating Victorian time capsule has recently been unearthed during demolition work for a new bypass in Birmingham.

The capsule was placed in a specially-made hollowed-out memorial stone in 1862 to mark the foundation of the Bethel Chapel of the Methodist New Connection in St Ann's Road, Cradley Heath - near Birmingham. Various contemporary documents were found inside, including a copy of the Birmingham Daily Post (from Tuesday 10 June, 1862) and minutes of the 65th Annual Conference of the Methodist New Connexion. Sadly there are no details of who actually chose the documents or put them there.

The newspaper features articles about the latest events in the American Civil War and the story of a suicide on a train - it cost one penny.

Adding to the intriguing historical value, the capsule itself has been opened once before, in 1910, by which time the chapel had become Whitley Memorial School. A programme from the opening ceremony after the rebuilding of the school was added to the collection of historic documents.

Sandwell borough archaologist Graham Eyre-Morgan told us: "The building was knocked down in 1910 and rebuilt and they must have found the capsule at that time and added their own items before resealing it. They are important pieces of the area's local history and show a good sense of community in Cradley Heath and the importance of Methodism generally."

The documents all predate the union of the different Methodist

churches in 1932. After treatment for preservation, they are likely to go on display at Haden Hill House, a local museum displaying the life of a typical Victorian gentleman. • •

1862 ARTEFACTS: Including photos, a local newspaper and details of a Methodist Church meeting - the capsule also held new additions from 1910 when it was first dug up

ARCHIVES IN ACTION |

World War I mystery finally solved

The Royal Mail Archive helps identify a Highlander who went missing in action in 1915

hen French road workers discovered the bodies of two British soldiers in 2001, their identity was a mystery. They had been killed at the Battle of Loos, and were part of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, but little else could be ascertained.

Researcher Peter Last took on the task of finding out who they were. His main clue was a bakelite pen inscribed with 'Postman's Gazette' found on one of the men. Peter contacted a friend who worked for the Royal Mail, who in turn put him in touch with the Royal Mail Archive.

By cross-referencing the regiment's casualty list from the battle with a list of Post Office employees, Peter Last settled on one name: John Young Brown. He was listed as a casualty of the battle and was the only Post Office employee in the regiment. Brown came from a long line of postmen, and a few years before the War had lived in the same house as the editor of the Postman's

Gazette, James Brown, who, it turns out, was a distant cousin of John Young Brown. James Brown took in John and his brother and sister after their parents died.

This information convinced the MoD that one of the bodies was John Young Brown and at the end of last year, the 1st Battalion Highlanders (successor to the Queen's Own Camerons) buried him with full military honours. The soldier's two nieces and grandniece were in attendance, along with Vicki Parkinson, head of the Royal Mail Archive. The identity of the other

JOHN YOUNG BROWN: Listed as going missing in September 1915. Sadly his whereabouts were only discovered 90 years later soldier is still being sought.

Royal Mail Archive helped bring you the Camden & Islington Family History Map, accompanying this issue of the magazine. The Archive can be found at Freeling House, Phoenix Place, London, WC01X 0DL. Visit www.royalmail.com/heritage for details.

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