A TIME capsule dating back more than 140 years has been discovered by builders redeveloping the site of an old church.

The glass capsule, containing coins, newspapers and pamphlets, was found by contractors working on a £1.4 million enterprise centre in the heart of Idle village.

It was first buried in 1870, at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for Idle's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

This building was demolished in the 1980s and replaced with a new Thorp Methodist Church, but the capsule was not discovered at the time.

Now the site, on the junction of Albion Road and Thorp Garth, is being redeveloped again, into a new Wright Watson Enterprise Centre by the Inspired Neighbourhoods Community Interest Company (INCIC).

And it was during this latest building work that the capsule and its contents were finally unearthed.

INCIC's chairman, Bradford Councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), said after the capsule was discovered, she got in touch with local resident Patricia Popple, who had been heavily involved in the church for decades.

She has now pieced together the story of the capsule and its original burial.

Mrs Popple said she visited the site to speak to the builder about the discovery.

She said: "It was his son who had noticed a cavity in the trench where they had dug a trench ready for the new foundation. He reached in and found a broken bottle with these papers, and they were very wet.

"They have since dried out."

The capsule contained three coins - a penny, a half penny and a silver coin, possibly a threepenny bit - three local newspapers and pamphlets and notices relating to Wesleyan churches.

There was also a hymn sheet and invitation for the service to mark the laying of the foundation stone, and the burial of the capsule, on Saturday, June 25, 1870.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: HEYDAY: The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Idle
The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Idle

Mrs Popple said she could imagine the excitement of the day, with all the people thronging to the site to celebrate the occasion.

Cllr Sunderland said they were now working on writing up the full history of the buildings which had stood on the site, which they would then re-bury with some of the original items in a new capsule next month.

She said: "When in 100 years' time it gets turned into something else, the people digging it up will have a full history. They won't need the Time Team to piece it together, we will have done it for them."