Oct 1 2010 by Greg Christison, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
AN AMAZING selection of historical items discovered during the renovation of a Perthshire village hall are likely to have been concealed by mischievous kids, an expert revealed yesterday.
Susan Payne, of Perth Museum and Art Gallery, explained that the objects, found by Fair City joiner Jamie Harcus in the Pitcairngreen building, were probably slipped through a gap in the wall by school children over a century ago.
The remarkable haul, unearthed from the frame of one of the building’s arched windows, includes documentation dating back to 1885, quill pens, a lead brooch and a poem believed to be composed by renowned writer William Cowper.
Mrs Payne said: “I don’t think that the items were purposely put there, during the 19th Century time capsules tended to put into thick glass jars and sealed.
“I think there is just a random explanation – possibly children pushing the objects down a gap – they are all slim items.”
Going on to explain the pieces, which were preserved due to the lack of moisture and sunlight under the window-ledge, Mrs Payne referred to the hall’s previous use as a school.
“They all obviously date back to the 19th Century,” she continued. “There is one piece of paper with Pitcairngreen School at the top and fragments with children’s exercises, which is very interesting.
“The only log-books of the school are from 1902 through to 1939 when it ceased operation, so there isn’t a specific reference to the school then.
“But the Statistical Accounts of Perthshire in 1844 flatter the Parish of Redgorton in its description of the education system, it says no children between the ages of six to 15 could not read or write.”
Village hall committee chairwoman Hilary Mackenzie, who is looking after the objects, explained that she hoped the local playgroup which operates from the hall would be able re-bury the “very exciting” items.
She said: “Susan has suggested that we go into the museum to try and restore them. We may take a copy and display the items under glass in the hall, but would like to bury them in a new time capsule.
The £93,000 restoration work, part-funded by the Rural Tayside Leader programme and the Robertson Trust, aims to make the hall more energy efficient, improve lighting and provide a new stage.