Transporter Time Capsule

Claire buries capsuleOn Monday a special time capsule was buried beneath the Tees Transporter Bridge to mark the end of the historic Tees landmark’s centenary year.

The Centenary Time Capsule was buried underground beneath a newly installed mounted Pulley Wheel outside the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre.

The project was developed by mima’s Creative Apprentices, a group of passionate arts enthusiasts working with the public and the creative sectors, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Capsule includes letters, photographs and memories reflecting the heritage of the area and will be re-opened in 100 years time by another group of young adults to compare the then and now.

mima’s trio of Creative Apprentices have also created a scrapbook filled with memories of the Transporter from the past 100 years, as well as 101 unique, limited edition badges and other interesting memorabilia.

Creative Apprentice Alice Hornby said: “This is the very first project that myself and the other Creative Apprentices have worked on. We were given the funding to create the Time Capsule from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“The capsule is filled with things that we want young, creative people to find in 100 years time. We all feel like we are part of something amazing, that will influence people for years to come.”

After lowering the casket into the ground I chatted with Claire Pounder Education Officer from MIMA and then Tosh Warwick Education Officer for the Transporter Bridge who had some very good news indeed for the Transporter webcam campaign.

Q: Tell me a little behind the time capsule please.

CP: We have been working now for the past four months with three creative apprentices at MIMA who we have got for the next year and it was their dream really on the back of Tosh Warwick (Education Officer – Transporter Bridge) approaching the council and saying what else can we do to mark the last 100 years of the bridge. So they came up with this amazing idea of a Time Capsule full of stuff that is relevant to them in their lives, the local area, they’ve recorded local people and local businesses. They’ve been busy making 101 badges so when they open the time capsule in 100 years they are all in there.

So, it was the apprentices, they have sorted it, produced it and I’m just dropping off.

Q: And dropping it down.

CP: And dropping it down, which I managed.

Q: And it will have a plaque on the top?

CP: Yes we are going to have a plaque. The girls need to decide on that but they wanted to see the wheel in situ and they were thinking a free standing plaque to mark it. It is going for some great future visits for people. It will be a lovely talking point. And I was listening to the radio this morning, people wanted a recipe for a parmo in the capsule, food, a Tesco shopping bill but we have got the morning papers.


I then chatted with Tosh Warwick
Tees Transporter Bridge Education, Learning and Events Officer

Q: Tosh is this officially marking the end of the Transporter Bridge Centenary Year?

TW: Yes it is the end of the centenary year on Wednesday and we are having a formal event on Wednesday at 2pm down by the bridge. We have the pulley wheel here as well now that used to operate on the bridge. And the time capsule is there now for people in 100 years time to look back on the bridge and its history now, so they can learn from the bridge as well.

Q: What exactly is inside the time capsule?

TW: We have got letters, photos, memorabilia related to the bridge. We have got some badges in there designed by the MIMA creative apprentices. Some of those will be handed out on Wednesday afternoon to the guests at the event. It is just a relic and mark for the end of the Centenary celebrations.

Q: It is interesting when we were looking back at the first 100 years you held an exhibition in the Visitor Centre you had a lot of records going back to the start of the bridge. I wonder what people will make of us when they open that casket in 100 years time from now.

TW: Well I think that is one of the reasons why we have opted for a time capsule. It gives us an opportunity to have some record of us in 100 years time. Because the people who worked on the bridge 100 years ago and the people that used the bridge, a lot of them have been lost to history so this is an effort to keep that history in place and have it there for future generations.

Q: All in one place.

TW: All in one capsule yes buried underneath the pulley wheel from the bridge.

Q: Your successors will be looking in that box..

TW: Hopefully. Lets hope it is found in 100 years time, lets hope that people realise it is there in 100 years time and obviously we hope the pulley wheel will still be there in 100 years time as a relic of the bridge.

Q: It really stands out in that bright blue paint.

TW: Yes I think it will really attract people to the Visitor Centre. It is very symbolic of the bridge and it is also similar to museums elsewhere who have used their old machinery to inspire local people to follow history and heritage like Beamish, the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Q: Where exactly was that pulley wheel.

TW: It was actually in storage but it was once high up on the bridge. The ropes would run across it so obviously it is going to be quite a good educational aid. It was replaced a couple of years ago as part of the renovation works of the bridge. We held on to it and felt it was good to have it there for people to look at and get a close up of the bridge for those that can’t get up to the very top at this moment in time.

Q: You say at this moment in time because you have lottery funding to construct lifts to the top. When will that work take place?

TW: We’ll have the lifts on sometime next year. Obviously that will allow wheel chairs and prams and the like to go to the top of the bridge and those with limited mobility. And also those that don’t like those 210 steps which I don’t like doing at all.

Q: Those lifts could potentially open the Transporter Bridge up as a national tourism destination.

TW: Well, almost certainly. The renovation work for the gondola as well will allow views down the river. We are also going to have a webcam at the top of the bridge which will allow people in the Visitor Centre and online to views across the Tees Valley. I know there has been a recent campaign along those lines to have a webcam. We did have it in place already and that can be a useful resource. We might even potentially have another one being installed later down the line.