Montrose Academy marks its bicentenary with time capsule

Pupils bury the time capsule
Pupils bury the time capsule

Pupils at Montrose Academy have marked the school’s bicentenary by burying a time capsule after the original one to mark the school’s opening was accidently dug up in the 1950s.

A re-dedication ceremony was held at the school on Friday to commemorate 200 years since its foundation stone was laid and a time capsule was buried on February 27, 1815.

Students, staff and special guests gathered in the Academy’s Millennium Garden to plant another time capsule, which will be opened in 50 years time.

Liz Smith, school librarian, said: “We asked the pupils what they wanted to put in the capsule and they chose examples of their work, photographs, current newspapers, including the Review, coins, uniforms, posters and details on what it means to be pupil at Montrose Academy today.

“It feels fantastic to be part of the bicentenary celebrations and to mark 200 years of the school and get the pupils involved and for them to learn about and feel part of the school and its establishment.”

On March 14, 1959 workman Arthur Mowatt accidentally uncovered the school’s foundation stone and the time capsule that was buried in 1815. The foundation stone was damaged by a pneumatic drill and is now buried under the school hall.

Mr Mowatt took the cylinder to the local police station and officers returned it to the Academy. The capsule is now part of the artefacts and documents held at the school.

The 1815 capsule contained newspapers, including the Review, coins, such as a Charles Second, a Montrose Bawbee - a coin/token used by local employers - and a certificate of the proceedings of the opening ceremony, which detailed that Mrs Ford of Finavon blessed the foundation stone.

Montrose Academy was founded in 1815 and succeeded the ancient Grammar School of Montrose as the principal centre of education in the town.

The original building, with its impressive dome, was designed and built in 1815 by David Logan.

After World War Two, Montrose Academy’s copper dome was covered in gold leaf as a war memorial. In the 1960s two memorials were added to the east exterior wall of the Assembly Hall, bearing the names of former students who had died in both world wars.

Speaking at the event on Friday, Angus Council’s education convener, Councillor Sheena Welsh, said: “You can sense the real excitement at being a part of history here today.

“As we stand here, marking 200 years almost to the day since the first time capsule was laid near to the school’s foundation stone, we also think ahead to what the future will bring for Montrose and for Academy pupils.

“Our young people gave a lot of thought as to what should be included in the time capsule. Interestingly, they have added their views and opinions on what they imagine pupils might be learning in 50 years’ time!”