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Leeds Castle in Maidstone to bury time capsule to mark its 900th anniversary

A snapshot in time including stamps, coins and photographs from 2019 is set to be buried in front of Leeds Castle next week, as part of commemorations for its 900th anniversary.

The time capsule - which will also include a copy of the Kent Messenger newspaper - will contain a letter to the future and short stories by two schoolchildren who won a storywriting contest earlier this year.

It will be buried by the president of the castle’s foundation, Princess Alexandra, when she visits today.

A time capsule is due to be buried at Leeds Castle Picture: John Westhrop
A time capsule is due to be buried at Leeds Castle Picture: John Westhrop

One of the highlights will be recreations of 20 black and white photographs, some of which date back to the early 1900s, showing the castle’s staff then - and new versions showing with their 2019 counterparts.

The pictures will be unveiled on the day when visitors can come and watch the ceremony take place on the castle island.

Gemma Wright from Leeds Castle said: “In 100 years’ time the staff in our roles doing our jobs can dig it up and learn about us and what we were doing.

"It is fascinating to think of it."

Leeds Castle Motte & Baillie Gin is going into the time capsule Picture: John Westhrop
Leeds Castle Motte & Baillie Gin is going into the time capsule Picture: John Westhrop

In his letter to the future, which will be read when the capsule is opened in 100 years, castle chief executive Sir David Steel said: “Much has changed over the history of this fabulous estate but I hope that for you, reading this letter 100 years from today, Leeds Castle remains just as it is today, “the loveliest castle in the world” - a symbol of longevity and distinction at the heart of Kent and, more widely, one of the most celebrated buildings in Britain.

“We have included items that we hope will give you a snapshot of how the castle is in our time.

"I suspect that everyday things for us, such as stamps, coins and static photographs, will be confined to museums in 2119.”

Leeds Castle Gardens will have a royal visitor Picture: Thomas Alexander
Leeds Castle Gardens will have a royal visitor Picture: Thomas Alexander

Also going into the capsule, and printed on special paper so they survive a century underground, are stories by 12-year-old Ella Davey and eight-year-old Theo Nyland, who won their age categories in the Leeds 900 storywriting competition.

The children will be there to see their tales go in. A bottle of the 900 anniversary Motte and Baillie gin, made with the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham, will also be included along with a local map and information about events this year.

Princess Alexandra will also open the Woodland Gardens during her visit.

As part of the anniversary celebrations the woodland area of the estate is being separated into six diverse gardens including an oriental garden and jungle garden.

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