Sometimes stories in the archive take time to unfold and reveal their full extent. In January 2019 a time capsule placed in the university’s Gannochy sports pavilion in 1969 was (re)discovered during building works. Through the intervention of a former member of university staff and a search through the university’s historic files the exact location of the container was identified, the capsule retrieved and its contents added to the University Archive. Amongst the evidence used to locate the time capsule was a cutting from The Stirling Observer from June 1969, a grainy newspaper photograph of the laying of the foundation stone for the sports pavilion being the only visual record of the original event.

Jump forward to 2024 and a set of photographs documenting the ceremony in June 1969 to mark the construction of the new sports pavilion (including the placing of the time capsule in the fabric of the building) were digitised as part of a batch of old university photographs being added to our extensive photographic record of the campus.

The images show the university staff and visiting dignitaries present at the event. The objects which were to spend the next fifty years hidden within a wall of the building are also seen being placed in the container as part of the ceremony. These images provide an interesting postscript to a curious tale and highlight the continuing potential of archives to reveal, inform and enlighten.

The time capsule – buried in 1969 – contained a selection of relics including: sporting memorabilia, a bottle of Bell’s whisky and old newspapers. (Photo. Greg Christison)
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