Bottle With 85-Year-Old Note Found Inside Concrete Core Of Monument

By Jason Hall

August 9, 2022

Europe, Greece, View Of Handwritten Notes (To Do List) On Pages Of Printed Book
Photo: Getty Images

An 85-year-old message in a bottle was found inside a monument in New Zealand during deconstruction last year.

The handwritten note located in the concrete core of the Citizens' War Memorial, according to a Christchurch City Council news release on Monday (August 8).

The message listed the names of the people who worked on the monument and the date of its completion.

“It was a fluke discovery,’’ said Brent Smith, Christchurch City Council Head of Vertical Capital Delivery. “The contractor was working on dismantling the concrete core of the memorial when a big chunk of concrete broke off, revealing the glass bottle. If the concrete had not broken in that exact spot, we would never have found it.’’

A small handwritten note penned 85 years ago and stored in a glass bottle 🏺 has been found inside the Citizens' War...

Posted by Christchurch City Council on Sunday, August 7, 2022

The glass bottle was given to a team of conservators at Canterbury Museum, who attempted to carefully drill through the glass bottle in order to pull out the tightly rolled-up note, but the neck of the structure was too narrow and moisture had previously seeped in, leaving the note in a fragile state.

The conservators waited several weeks for the note to dry out before resuming their actions and, after finally unfurling the note, spotted five visible names of the monument's stonemasons listed on the paper along with February 1937, the date of its completion.

The Citizens' War Memorial, which was deconstructed last year to be restored and relocated to a new spot in Cathedral Square, is a tribute to the individuals who lost their lives during World War I.

“The note is a bit worse for wear but it is an amazing link to the past that could easily have laid undiscovered,’’ Smith said in the news release. “I think what this note shows is that the original stonemasons were very proud of being part of building this memorial to the men and women who lost their lives in World War 1 and they wanted their role in the project to be remembered.

“I am delighted that 85 years on we have recovered the note they hid and can publicly acknowledge them for their skilled workmanship and the part they played in creating this cherished memorial."

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