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Time capsule – Rank Hovis McDougall 1969

In 1969, we were approached by the company of Rank Hovis McDougall, the flour and bread company.   They were building a new high-rise office block in Vauxhall and they wanted a short film to place in a time capsule.

At the time, there were a number of buildings in London that had buried time capsules in the foundations.

This seemed like great fun.  I used John Abbott as cameraman and we filmed in the supermarkets to show what goods were on offer and also how much they cost.  One was in Pinner, close to where John lived, and the manager allowed us in before opening time to get what we wanted. We filmed fashions in some of the top houses in London.  We filmed the latest motor cars and some of the old ones just to show that they were still on the road.

As soon as people knew what the film was for, we were welcomed with open arms.  It must have been fascinating for people to know that they and their shop were to be put into a time capsule.

We included classic scenes of London.  It was a well-rounded film of the period and we hoped that it would be of interest to some of our successors in a hundred years time. (It has been interred now for over forty years already)

I had some prints made and I took home the one that was to be buried.  It was “end out” and I got the whole family to put their finger prints on the tail of the film.  It was a sort of personal joke.

The next morning, we were off to Vauxhall for the ceremonial burying of the capsule.

There was quite a crowd there.  There were management of Rank, Hovis, McDougall, members of the press and representatives of the builders.  The whole film crew was there as well.

The capsule was of stainless steel and, apart from the film, it contained letters, newspapers and magazines, a bottle of whisky and a bottle of champagne and, essentially, nitrogen gas to complete the preservation.

There was a memorable party afterwards hosted by Rank, Hovis, McDougall, so you can imagine it was top class.

© Terence Gallacher and, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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