'Message in a bottle' discovered in Southampton

Time capsule uncovered at Southampton Guildhall Credit: Southampton City Council

A message in a bottle from 1935 containing a warning of troubled times to come has been uncovered by masons restoring damaged Portland stone at Southampton Guildhall.

The time capsule, made from what is thought to be a lemonade bottle, contains a message written in pencil on the back of a cigarette packet which reads:

Further research has revealed that the mention of war in the message refers to the ongoing 'Abyssinia Crisis' at the time, with Mussolini rejecting a peace treaty offered by the League of Nations to end the conflict on the previous day.

The items has been passed to Southampton City Council’s Arts & Heritage service for restoration and further analysis. They will then be held in the city's archives and exhibited at a later date.

The bottle will be replaced with a new capsule, containing the names of the masons who made the recent discovery alongside details of the current restoration project.

"It is fascinating when precious items such as these are found in our city, which give us a tantalising glimpse of what life was like in Southampton in years gone by. I’m delighted that this brilliant piece of world history has now been passed to our team of experts here at the council, who will carefully store it in our archives and save it for future generations to enjoy in our exhibitions”.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet member for Communities, Leisure and Culture