Builders working on a major new public swimming pool, fitness centre, and GP and dental surgery, have discovered a time capsule that shines a light on Lambeth’s past.
The capsule was found by builders at the site of the old Norwood Hall in Knight’s Hill, which was built in 1962. The old hall is currently being demolished and the site is being turned into a £16.5 million modern leisure and health centre by Lambeth Council and NHS Lambeth.
The site was formerly an orphanage, the Norwood Home for Jewish Children, and two former residents of the home Tony Seager, Secretary of Norwood Old Scholars Association, and his sister Priscilla Seager, joined Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, at Lambeth Archives to open the capsule and examine its contents.
Inside were copies of the South London Press, Norwood News, The Jewish Chronicle and Crystal Palace and Norwood Advertiser dated from November 30th 1962, as well as a number of coins. The contents have been offered to Norwood Old Scholars Association, an organisation set up by the children that used to attend the Norwood Home for Jewish Children. The organisation has also been helping to find a permanent home for the large Star of David that used to hang on the side of the recently demolished building.
The newspaper reports reveal that when demolition of the Norwood Home for Jewish Children took place in July 1962, builders discovered a time capsule from 1861, when the foundation stone of the original orphanage was laid.
Cllr Lib Peck said: “It’s was fascinating to open something that had lain untouched for half a century, and we plan to carry on the tradition by burying a new time capsule that reflects life in Lambeth in 2012.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to offer the contents to Norwood Old Scholars Association, and that they are helping to preserve the Star of David that used to hang of the side of the old hall.
“This new Norwood Hall will be fantastic for the area and is going to provide a real centre for the local community. It’s going to mean local people will be able to get exercise, visit the doctor, get information and support from the council, or come together to take part in classes or as part of a community group, all under one roof.”
Tony Seager, Secretary of Norwood Old Scholars Association, said: “We at NOSA would like to thank all the councillors involved in this project as well as council officers and contractors Galliford Try, whose commitment at their own expense was so much appreciated. Norwood Old Scholars Association is a charitable organization set up forty years ago, to help keep in touch former residents of the home and to give financial assistance and help to those that need it, we also wherever possible try to preserve anything to do with our past heritage. As well as the Star of David going to The Organisation Norwood in Berkshire, the drinking fountain which was in the grounds of the orphanage has also been preserved by the Friends of Norwood Cemetery working together with Lambeth Council and English Heritage, and is to be reinstated at St. Luke’s Cemetery West Norwood.”
The £16.5 million scheme will see the site transformed into a modern leisure and health centre, and has been led by Lambeth Council in partnership with NHS Lambeth and Galliford Try. The government gave the scheme final approval in April and with planning permission already agreed work began in May.
The 25 metre swimming pool will be the third planned for Lambeth in just two years, and follows the opening of the brand new Clapham Leisure Centre and pool in February 2012. A new swimming pool forms part of the Streatham Hub scheme, which is due to be completed at the end of 2013.
The new services are scheduled to be up and running and open to the public in spring 2014.