News & Insights

Workers replacing Ruthven Road Bridge find 121 year old time capsule

Workers from Morgan Sindall plc have unearthed a 121 year old time capsule while working for The Highland Council to replace the Ruthven Road Bridge on the outskirts of Kingussie in the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

The capsule, a metal box about the size of a shoe box, was discovered buried deep in the bridge’s pier on the southern bank of the River Spey.

Presumably placed there during the bridge’s original construction, the box’s contents include a folded newspaper dated 22 September 1894, a paper scroll and a bottle of what appears to be whisky.

The artifacts have been passed to staff at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore where they will begin the process of investigation and preservation.

Morgan Sindall’s area director for infrastructure, Robert Ogg, said: “It is fascinating to think these items have been sitting in the bridge’s structure for 121 years. The changes which have occurred since it was placed there are extraordinary. If you think that the bridge was being used by horses back then, it gives you a sense of the time which has passed.

“We have actually been working with Kingussie Primary School to create our own time capsule which we hope will last as long.”

The single-track road bridge spans the River Spey linking the B970 and the communities beyond, to Kingussie and the trunk road network.

The £622,000 project will see the superstructure of the existing bridge replaced to ensure it is safe to accept road traffic without weight restrictions. The stone masonry abutments and piers will be retained and repaired where necessary to allow for the new superstructure to be installed.

In recent years the condition of the bridge deck had deteriorated to the extent that a three-tonne weight limit had been placed on the bridge to ensure its safety. The renewal of the bridge deck requires the bridge to be closed to traffic for six weeks.

Work on the bridge is expected to be complete in the autumn of 2015.