Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn Cathedral's time capsule emptied by thief

By Adrian Rutherford

For decades it lay hidden away in one of Lisburn’s most iconic buildings — and now the contents of a long-forgotten time capsule have become lost in time themselves.

Speculation had been building about exactly what was in the capsule after it was rediscovered during restoration work on the city’s cathedral. But, when opened, the object was found to be empty.

The time capsule is thought to have been stored in the cathedral’s weather vane at the top of the spire some time around 1930.

It is thought to have contained a newspaper and at least two coins engraved by jeweller Frank Pettigrew, who had a shop on Bow Street.

It appears that at some point the weather vane was tampered with and its contents removed, leaving chisel marks and an empty capsule.

Canon Sam Wright, the rector of Lisburn Cathedral, said there was great disappointment that the capsule’s contents had been lost.

“We were upset to discover that what we hoped was a little piece of history, hidden at the highest point in Lisburn, has gone missing,” he said.

“I was looking forward to experiencing the thrill of discovery when the capsule was opened, but that, sadly, is not to be.”

The weather vane, which was created by Thomas J Hanna, a blacksmith from Graham Gardens in the city, has been refurbished as part of the £1 million restoration and renovation project and a new time capsule is being provided.

The contents are aimed at giving an insight into the city as it stands today. It includes a letter from Canon Wright, a masterplan from Lisburn City Centre management, and a coin minted in 2010 to mark the kingship of Charles II, who granted the charter for Lisburn Cathedral in 1662.

Canon Wright said he hoped the capsule would give future generations a glimpse of what city life was like in 2010. “We hope that our time capsule will provide joy and intrigue to our future generations and allow them the thrill of discovering something about life in the cathedral and the city of Lisburn today,” he added.

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