Sunday, 26 September 2021

To villagers of the future: this was us back in 2014

PICTURES of Shiplake, diaries and children’s toys were among items placed inside two time capsules

PICTURES of Shiplake, diaries and children’s toys were among items placed inside two time capsules to represent life in the village.

Trustees of the village’s war memorial hall organised a competition for villagers to submit suggestions for what to include in the wooden boxes.

The contest was launched to commemorate the £430,000 modernisation of the building in October 2013.

The capsules were attached to the wall of the hall in Memorial Avenue before an unveiling ceremony with the winners.

Isabella Barlow, seven, of Northfield Road, won the under-11s category, while the Blanchard family, of Badgers Walk, won the senior category.



Each capsule has a plaque, saying: “The Way We Were, July 2014.” Underneath is etched who filled it and a request that it should be opened in 50 years’ time.

Isabella, who pulled a curtain to unveil her box, said she was happy to have won and that she would be taking her friends and family to see her box.

She included a photograph of her classmates at Shiplake Primary School in their school uniform and pictures of the village, including Shiplake Lock where she likes visiting the ducks.

Her mother Lottie, who suggested to Isabella that she should enter the competition, said: “Isabella took a bit of time putting together a photograph album with pictures of the village. There was one of the school, the church, Shiplake Lock, the park, nursery, corner shop and butchers.

“Originally she wanted to include her school uniform but that would have been too big for the box so she added a picture of her whole year two class, as it was then, with all her friends.”

Isabella also put in a diary and some toys that she and her sister Millie, five, used to play with. She also has a two-year-old brother Charlie.

Mrs Barlow, whose husband Dave is a program manager for an insurance company, said: “She wanted to do a diary for a week in her life so people would know what she did at school, her after-school activities and what she ate. She spent a long time on it.”

The Blanchards filled their capsule with diary entries from friends and families in the village, photographs of the memorial hall before and after its refurbishment and an aerial shot of the village.

Father Mark, a furniture designer, mother Tamsin, a TV producer, and their children, Amelia, eight, and Henry, six, who both attend the primary school, all contributed.  

Mrs Blanchard said: “We included various day-in-the-life diary entries of villagers so people would know what an Average Joe did in Shiplake. We also included an aerial view of Shiplake so they can see how it is now in 50 years’ time when there will probably be more houses.”

A USB stick with video footage of events held at the hall was also included but Mrs Blanchard said: “The technology used to play it might be out of date by then.” 

Rachel Lloyd, who chairs the hall’s trustees, helped judge the competition, which attracted more than a dozen entries in each category.

She said: “We liked Isabella’s entry because she wrote it all herself and we liked what she wanted to put in the capsule. Toys represent somebody of her age and she had a diary and involved the school, which was a good overall cross-section. The Blanchards had such a lot in theirs that the judges were unanimous.”

The refurbishment of the hall, which was built in 1925, involved the creation of a catering kitchen, meeting room and lobby. It was officially re-opened by Lady Phillimore.

The building is used by a number of community groups, including Shiplake Parish Council, the Royal British Legion and the Shiplake and Dunsden Dramatic Organisation.

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