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Dundee history - WWI postal workers’ time capsule opened

A time capsule, known at the time of its creation as the ‘Postal War Memorial Shrine’, created and sealed by Dundee postal workers in 1921 has been opened at a special ceremony, following the rediscovery of the fascinating story by an amateur family historian.

In October 1921, a casket contained within a cabinet was put on public display in Dundee; a plaque on the cabinet read: ‘To be opened on the 4th August 2014, by the Postmaster in the presence of the then Lord Provost’.

  The 'shrine' contained sealed letters, including a poignant letter written by telegraphist Annie K Lamont.

Listen to a reading of the letter and find out more about Annie.

The memorial shrine had been reported of in Post Office internal communications in the 1960s and 1980s, but the story was rediscovered by Janice Kennedy while she was researching her family tree, and the casket was found in a storeroom in a Dundee sorting office.

The discovery allowed the casket to be opened as intended, on 4 August in the Dundee City Chambers.

Postal War Memorial Shrine, Dundee 1921The contents of the casket included a large number of newspaper clippings, sealed letters to the present-day Lord Provost and postmaster, an edition of the Dundee Courier, the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association Handbook 1921 and a copy of that year’s Post Office magazine.

Matthew Jarron, Curator of Museum Services, University of Dundee, told History Scotland:

'Right from the start we knew it was something special. I’m not aware of anywhere else commemorating the war in this way.

'It’s an extraordinary idea that people should be so forward thinking as to send us a message this far into the future. It’s being referred to as a "time capsule" and we’re used to the idea of them now but that wasn’t a term used at the time because the concept was so novel.'

  Read much more about the WWI 'Postal War Memorial Shrine' in the October 2014 issue of Scottish Memories magazine.

Order a print edition or download now using the buttons below…


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