The Woodroffe School takes a step back in time

Past and present students and teachers with the items from the time capsule
Former students, including 1989 head boy Tristan Harris (far right) open the time capsule

THE Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis was taken back to the 1980s as a time capsule planted 30 years ago was unveiled.

Buried in 1989, the capsule was dug up and its contents unveiled on the last day of term before the Christmas holidays.

Former students, including 1989 head boy Tristan Harris, returned to the school for the event, and enjoyed reminiscing over the unearthed items with past and present teachers, including head of history John Seabrook who had led the time capsule project.

When the metal case was dug up and found to be rusted and corroded, there were some concerns the items inside would not have survived the past 30 years. But wrapped in a black plastic bag they were found to be in perfect condition.

Woodroffe staff Dot and Ian Wood, Karen Walker and Alan Brown reminisce over the buried items

Items buried included books, newspapers and magazines, items of school uniform, exercise books and exam papers, photos, currency, common household items of the day, a vial of Lyme Regis sea water and plenty of pop culture references including posters, cassettes and video tapes.

The capsule also included a ‘letter to the future’ by former A-level student Lisa Craddock, aged 17 at the time of writing.

Lisa, who said she hoped to study politics at university and later “report on current affairs and travel the world”, made some astute predictions about the future, in particular about environmental and climate concerns, commenting: “The environment in 2019 I believe will be one of the principle policies for a General Election.”

She added that South West Water’s proposals for break waters in Lyme Regis were the biggest local concern of the day.

See the ‘letter to the future’ in full below:

DEAR students of the year 2019,

I have been asked to write a letter containing my thoughts and aspirations for my future and the world as a whole.

Firstly, some background about myself. I am 17 years and 11 months, studying in the upper sixth for A-levels in history, English, biology and a AS in politics and government. It’s hard work so one of my thoughts for you would be that the exam system for Advanced Level changes.

In 1989 the structure of examinations has been recently changed with the introductions of GCSEs (first taken in 1987) as opposed to GCE and CSE. I personally think that the new system of education will change yet again before your turn arrives.

For myself I hope to go to university and study international politics. This is of great interest to me and I would love to have your knowledge now of how the politics of the world will look in 2019.

In 1989 I ask myself questions such as: What will be the fate of communism? Will it continue to dominate Eastern European politics or will it gradually phase out to be looked back on as a fad of the 20th century? Will black people finally gain their independence in white South Africa? Is the Cold War really over or will a new icier age develop between the superpowers? The list of questions is endless and I shall wait with much anticipation for them to be answered.

I myself hope to graduate university and then find a job in commerce or the media. Ideally, I would like to report on current affairs and travel the world.

Travel in the 21st century will have changed considerably I am sure. Science fiction magazines now would have you all in private space shuttles rocketing around the world. Realistically, I think a computerised vehicle of some sort is likely. The road system will have to change if the influx of vehicles onto them is not stemmed.

Local government now seems to waste money building stretches of new roads that are substandard. These cost approximately £2million leaving a small surplus spent on paving adequate lanes and pavements. A long-term plan for the motorway system would make far more sense. These by-passes will need by-passing again before they are finished.

In Lyme itself a big threat this year has come in South West Water’s proposals to build break waters off the Marine Parade. If these plans are carried out the face of Lyme Regis will have changed considerably compared to now.

Tourism is the principle source of income for Lyme, with most people affected directly or indirectly. If the proposals ruin Lyme as a picturesque seaside resort your families may have a totally different source of income to ours.

The environment has come to the front of the political arena in 1988/89 with the revelation that large holes are appearing in the ozone layer over both the North and South Poles. All the political parties seem to have jumped on the ‘green’ bandwagon. The environment in 2019 I believe will be one of the principle policies for a General Election.

Rainforests still exist in 1989 but are being destroyed at the rate of the area of Belgium each year, so they might not be around in 2019. This will cause another massive ecological mess. It could turn out that your climate is different to ours if the environment changes as drastically as ecologists say it will.

I recently discovered nuclear waste is being dumped in the sea in containers which over the course of many years could leak. Your era may be facing up to the problems caused by the adults of my generation as you rediscover this time capsule.

Such environmental disasters will cause politicians of your time to make our planet nuclear-safe, if not nuclear-free. In 2019 will the nuclear warheads still exist as a deterrent for war? Unless an even worse threat is developed, I would expect so.

Space travel in the year 2019 will be more commonplace if technological advances continue as they have over the last 25 years, a colony on the moon perhaps, but of what nationality? Holidays on Mars? Perhaps not but who knows – a lot of things can change in 30 years.

One of the mayor positive points of scientific advancement will be in medicine. I will be 47 when this capsule is uncovered. One of my wishes would be to have a cure in everything from the common cold to leukaemia. AIDS is a now a problem of the 20th century; if a cure is not found it could be a major epidemic on the scale of the bubonic plague, but that will remain up to the individual.

I hope you can make sense of my ramblings and it gives you an insight on how a 17 year old in 1989 expected the world to develop.

Lisa Craddock,
Dolphin Close, Lyme Regis

Woodmead Halls

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