Tayside and Central Scotland

Time capsule from 1930s found at Bannockburn flagstaff in Stirlingshire

Bannockburn flagstaff
Image caption The flagstaff at the Bannockburn memorial is being repaired ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle

Conservationists repairing a flagpole at the Bannockburn memorial in Stirlingshire have found a time capsule from more than 75 years ago.

Workers uncovered a newspaper, coins and fragments of glass sealed inside the historic monument in 1937.

The 1870s flagstaff is being repaired in time for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn next year.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has asked for anyone with information about the capsule to contact them.

When staff opened the time capsule, they found a rolled-up copy of the Stirling Observer from 6 April 1937, a thimble, a metal token stamped with the number 72, a 1911 Falkirk coronation medal, a 1924 farthing, a half-crown from 1928 and fragments of a brown glass vessel.

Mystery glass

NTS curator Alastair Smith, who examined the find, said: "The 1937 Bannockburn capsule commemorates the coronation year, although many of the objects may have been added on the spur of the moment as the flagpole was being assembled.

Image caption A newspaper, coins and fragments of glass were found in the time capsule

"The glass bottle might even have been smashed in the same way as ships have been launched for centuries."

The top section of the flagpole was replaced following storm damage in 1937, when King George VI was crowned.

It was removed again late last year and has been replaced by a stainless steel version, which has a long-life coating.

A stainless steel weather vane has also been created; a replica of the one installed in 1937 and styled on Robert the Bruce's battleaxe.

The NTS and Historic Scotland are behind the Battle of Bannockburn project, which will result in a new visitor centre and the restoration of historic monuments including a statue of Robert the Bruce.

David McAllister, project director at NTS, said: "This unexpected find has been very exciting for the Battle of Bannockburn project team.

"There are some pieces, such as the numbered token and glass bottle, that remain a bit of mystery."

Grandfather's memories

Rory MacLeod, from Fife, contacted the National Trust to say his grandfather was involved in the time capsule.

"When I was a young boy, I remember my grandfather Alexander Aikman took me to the Bannockburn site and said 'There's a time capsule up there'," recalled the 51-year-old.

"He was managing director of the Grangemouth Dockyard Co that worked on the repairs to the top section of the flagpole in the 1930s and decided to include a time capsule.

"During the depression, there were all kinds of jobs in metal work that his team were looking for to keep the company alive and the flagpole was the last of this kind of work."

He added: "As Bannockburn is such an important place in Scottish history, he wanted to leave objects that he felt were representative of that time and the pride that the dockyard company had in repairing part of a historic monument.

"He would be happy to know the topmast and battleaxe weather vane are being replaced as a modern replica of the works they carried out in the 1930s."

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