A time capsule dated back to 1873 has been unearthed inside the walls of the Manchester Museum during refurbishment works.
The glass jar time capsule with its wax seal still intact was found hidden deep within a cavity wall.
As builders renovated the oldest surviving synagogue in Manchester, they discovered the almost 150-year-old capsule buried next to the Museum’s Ark – the chamber which houses the Torah scrolls – and found it filled with synagogue papers, newspapers and some old coins.
Buried almost 150 years ago, the time capsule was found during renovations of the Manchester Jewish Museum.
The museum said staff were yet to open the capsule and examine its contents in more detail.
The Grade II-listed building – described by English Heritage as “one of the highlights of Victorian Gothic architecture in the country”, is the oldest surviving synagogue in Manchester. The local Jewish population moved away from the area in the 1970s, making the synagogue redundant, and it was given a new lease of life as the Manchester Jewish Museum in 1984.
It is currently being restored and extended as part of a £5m project.
Museum leaders now hope the discovery of the time capsule will help to tell the story of the museum’s former life as a synagogue.
Max Dunbar – Chief Executive of Manchester Jewish Museum – said: “This timely discovery comes at an apt and symbolic period when millions of Jewish people around the world prepare for the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, a reflective and thoughtful time of year when many observers look backwards as a means to move forwards,”
“We are thrilled and overwhelmed by its discovery and look forward to displaying it in the new museum next spring.”
It is hoped the redeveloped museum will increase annual visitor numbers from 10,000 to 40,000 when it reopens in spring 2021.
You can find more information via the Manchester Jewish Museum website here.