A window has opened on a lost time when no fewer than 700 children allegedly packed out a Church of England Sunday school.

A 102-year-old time capsule containing historical documents was found at St Peter’s Centre, Loughborough, during £1.6 million renovation work. Discovered beneath a foundation stone, it was an old deanery magazine which reported the high Sunday school attendance figure in 1911.

According to a BBC report, St Peter’s was originally built for a Church of England congregation and opened in 1912. But the church never received an official opening ceremony because of the outbreak of World War I.

The Grade II listed building closed in 2007. The following year it was bought for £100,000 by a local Elim church and a charismatic congregation called Open Heaven, in a special partnership project.

Elim Senior Pastor Paul Stevens and Open Heaven Gatherings Manager Becky Jordan were interviewed for BBC1’s East Midlands Today about the discovery of the time capsule.

“We didn’t realise anything like that was buried there,” Paul Stevens told the BBC. “I broke the wax seal, lifted off the lid and had a look inside the jar. I was aware I was looking at historic documents and they might disintegrate. But they were in excellent condition.”

The two congregrations plan to bid for Heritage Lottery funding to put the capsule on permanent display. They have also been running workshops so local children can create their own time capsules.

Clive Price