Former Wiggins Teape employees opened time capsule at Sandford Springs Golf Club

The Gateway House Casket buried in the 1950s was opened at the Wiggins Teape Pensioners Association's AGM at Sandford Springs Golf Club

John Worlidge opens the casket

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

THERE was a real blast from the past for former work colleagues as they gathered for the opening of a time capsule that was buried 60 years ago.

Sandford Springs Golf Club, in Kingsclere, was the venue for the official opening of the capsule by members of Wiggins Teape Pensioners Association.

The casket was buried in the company’s then head office in London – and it was left with instructions that it should be opened by the chairman of Wiggins Teape in 2956, based on a confident assumption that the company would still be operational in 1,000 years.

Since then, the paper manufacturing company has gone through many changes, and after a series of mergers, it is now owned by French company Sequana.

The company’s original head office was demolished by developers in 1990, but the capsule was rescued.

When the Wiggins Teape Pensioners Association was told that it was to be disposed of by management, they requested the casket.

It was opened at a memorabilia exhibition at the pensioners’ AGM and annual lunch day at Sandford Springs.

A letter to the chairman was read out and guests were able to pore over documents and specimen paper which contained all sorts of information about the paper trade in the 1950s.

Jes Jarvis, of the WT Pensioners’ management committee, said that the casket had been buried in 1956 in the hope of enabling future generations to learn more about the history of the company.

He said: “It was felt that from the letter to the future chairman, and other documents and specimen papers, the chairman of the future would learn about the history of the group up until 1956, and about the hopes and potential which they saw in the paper trade of that day.

“Each document in the casket has been sealed separately in an air and moisture- proof polythene bag to protect it.

“By sealing each separately, even if one item did not survive for 1,000 years, it was felt the majority would.”

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