Southwick Square unearths a time capsule as it undergoes a transformation

lead time capsule unearthed

Construction to revitalise the area leads to time capsule discovery

Southwick Square has unearthed a blast from the past as it undergoes a transformation to move it into the future.

Work is well underway to revitalise the area and the team from contractor Edburton Construction has discovered a lead time capsule that was buried at the site during the official opening of the original precinct on Saturday April 29th, 1961.

The capsule was found whilst carefully removing the commemorative stone in the pond. Inside it contained newspaper cuttings from the Shoreham Herald and the Brighton and Hove Herald, as well as a Southwick Urban District Council 1960/61 yearbook and a programme to mark the laying of the stone.

The stone was laid by Lt Col Sir Herbert Shiner, the chairman of West Sussex County Council, and blessed by Reverend RJ Leave, the Rector of Southwick, in front of residents and VIP guests during the opening ceremony.

The capsule is set to be put on display for the public to view at the museum, run by the Southwick Society at the Manor Cottage Heritage Centre, Southwick Street and then be reburied with a new capsule containing modern-day items when the work is completed around mid-August.

Adur District Council wants the community to get involved by coming up with ideas of what they would like to see in the present-day capsule. Details of how to have your say will be posted on the Council’s Facebook page in the coming weeks.

Displaying the capsule in the museum before reburing it

Mary Candy, the chairperson for the Southwick Society, said: “It is very exciting to uncover a time capsule during the redevelopment. Southwick Urban District Council was a very forward-thinking council with ambitious plans for Southwick in the 60s.

“It is great that they had the foresight to bury these items for future generations to find. Of course they had no idea how long the capsule would remain hidden and whilst there will be some people who remember the opening of the square, the majority will not.

“We would be very happy to display it in the museum whilst the redevelopment continues, to give the public an opportunity to see it before it is reburied. We have a cinefilm of the opening of the Square which we show in the museum, which would tie in very nicely. If it is not to be reburied then we would be happy to give it a permanent home in our archive.”

Steve Neocleous, Adur District Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning, added: “This is a real find by the team working to regenerate Southwick Square and looking back to when the original shopping precinct was open highlights how important the work is to bring it into the 21st Century.

“It really is a slice of local history and putting it on display in the heritage centre is a wonderful idea that will give residents and history buffs the chance to see what it looked like when it was officially opened more than 60 years ago.

“And when the regeneration work is complete, I think it is a great idea to ask the community to give us their ideas of what items from 2023 they would like to see buried in it, so that in another 60 or 70 years people can see the huge changes that have taken place in their neighbourhood.”

Work to revamp the area started in April and has gathered pace in recent weeks. The current work is being funded by £87,000 from Adur District Council and up to £600,000 from West Sussex County Council as part of the Adur Growth Deal, a five-year partnership programme of regeneration between the two councils.


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