Time capsules to be buried for 120 years at historic bridge linking England and Scotland

Special time capsules are to be buried at each end of the Union Chain Bridge to mark the completion of the restoration process.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 2:00 pm

The project aims to capture people’s memories of the bridge and once buried, will be unearthed in 120 years’ time to give future generations an intriguing insight into what life was like in the area in 2021.

The physical connection between England and Scotland has recently been cut at the site for the first time in centuries.

Since its opening in 1820, the bridge, near Horncliffe on the English side, united communities on both sides of the border and has been a key crossing and striking landmark ever since.

Restoration work on the Union Chain Bridge.

Matt Storey from Museums Northumberland explained: “This is a really exciting part of this whole scheme and something I’m sure will attract a lot of interest.

“Local residents of all ages will be invited to develop and decide on the material to be included in the capsules – one for each side of the border.

"The main themes for the contents of the time capsule will be people’s memories of the bridge and why it is important to them, information about the community and what it’s like to live in 2021, documents about the bridge work and submissions from partner schools.

"Some bridge memories have already been collected during the bicentenary celebrations and we seek to continue this - with people’s memories recorded on postcards for inclusion in the time capsules.”

The plan is for the capsules to be opened in 120 years – the projected future lifespan of the structure before it needs to be repaired again.

Matt added: “The bridge is a much-loved local landmark so we want to make sure that the community play an important role in determining the content of the time capsules.

The £10.5m project has received support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Northumberland County Council, Scottish Borders Council, Museums Northumberland and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge.

Full restoration got underway last October and the painstaking work to refurbish the bridge and ultimately to reinstate it is now underway. It is due to reopen early next year.

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