Time capsule discovered on building site of former Liquid and Envy clubs in Luton

Workmen involved in the redevelopment of the former Liquid and Envy nightclubs in Luton have unearthed a time capsule from over 80 years ago.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:52 pm

The building at 22-44 Gordon Street was designed by architect Leslie H. Kemp and opened as the Union & Ritz Cinema in October 1937.

In its later life, the venue was turned into a series of clubs and even hosted The Beatles during their first ever mini tour of England.

Dunstable firm Active Environmental Services was contracted to remove all asbestos from the building, while it is transformed into one and two-bedroom apartments.

Workmen at the former Liquid and Envy site have unearthed a time capsule from over 80 years ago

It was during this process that an unexpected discovery was made.

Hidden deep in the wall was a time capsule left by one of the men working on the construction site when it was built in 1937 and discovered in late December 2020, some 83 years later.

A witness said: "Initially it was thought to be rubbish, but on closer inspection it was obvious that someone had carefully placed the items in the wall."

Being cushioned between the exterior and inner bricks had provided protection from the elements for the time capsule.

A snippet of the newspaper from July 14, 1937, was discovered

Among the items discovered was a pack of Player’s Navy Cut, Cigarettes – Medium. This cigarette brand was introduced in 1883 and was manufactured by Imperial Brands before being discontinued in the UK.

Written in pencil inside the cigarette box was the following:

"1937... H. Ambridge... Plasterer... Age: 33... Ystalyfera.... Swansea."

Accompanying this was a cutting of what was assumed to be that day’s newspaper, dated Wednesday, July 14, 1937.

Queues outside the Ritz Cinema in 1958

An Active Environmental spokesman said: "Due do the lack of container we can guess that Mr Ambridge made an impromptu decision to leave behind the artifacts.

"At that time newspapers were one of the only ways to gain information and smoking cigarettes was proactively promoted by doctors in adverts, so it is safe to assume that both a newspaper and a carton of cigarettes would be commonly found items on a person during this era.

"Although we will never know the intentions behind Mr Ambridge’s time capsule... It seems only fitting that a building so rich in history would have secrets hidden in its walls.

"Without the meticulous attention to detail and skill of the Active Environmental team this hidden treasure may have been left undiscovered. In times like these a momentary distraction of a brief insight to the past is welcomed."