116 years of history as time capsules opened at Wolverhampton hospital

By Thomas Parkes | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Glimpses of the past have been showcased after three time capsules were opened up at a hospital.

Karen Bowley with the 1903 capsule, Vanessa Whatley with the 1999 capsule and Alan Duffell with the 1982 capsule

Staff, patients and friends crowded around as the containers were opened at West Park Rehabilitation Hospital – dating back to 1903, 1982 and 1999.

They had been bricked up safely behind different walls in the hospital – with much excitement as the bricks were taken away slowly to reveal the hidden contents.

Coins, tea bags, photographs, cassette tapes and copies of the Express & Star were uncovered along with the other items.

The seal was on the 1903 capsule
Inside the 1903 capsule
An historic clipping of the Express & Star from 1903

Retired building manager Russ Handy, who worked at the hospital for 25 years, bricked up the wall that covered the capsules in 1999.

And the worker, who started in 1986, was on-hand for the opening.


He said: “It doesn’t seem two minutes since the last event! I met my wife while working at West Park and she witnessed the placing of the 1982 capsule. I’m sure the items will bring back memories for both of us.”

Dr Alexander Joseph and George Tipper open the 1903 capsule
Louise Lee, Biddy Cox and Elaine Walker take a look at a Express and Star from 1982

The capsules were opened before in 1999, when the newest one was placed inside - and now staff have made a 2019 capsule for future generations to open.


The 1903 time capsule was opened up by neurology consultant Dr Alexander Joseph and porter George Tipper, and contained hospital reports, leaflets, coins, and an Express & Star from that year.

The 1982 container was opened by 89-year-old patient Biddi Cox – who worked as a nurse at West Park for 12 years, from 1981 to 1993. It also contained coins, hospital notes, photos and newspapers.

Matthew Dean takes a look at the contents of the 1903 capsule..
The items have been put into the 2019 capsule

Biddi, who is undergoing stroke rehabilitation, said: “It was lovely to be asked to help with the time capsule. The staff here are absolutely wonderful.”

Matron Karen Bowley and groundsman Matt Dean opened the 1999 capsule, before inviting guests to look through the items for a new capsule.

Coins from 1903 were uncovered

Newsletters from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), a charity teddy bear, photographs, long service badges and a copy of the newspaper has been placed inside before it was put with the other capsules.

Alan Duffell, director of workforce for RWT, said: “By adding a new capsule, we aim to preserve our own successes and memories for future generations.”

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at


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