10 Sep

Time capsule preserves Leicester’s history in The Gresham

Gresham Time Capsule

Mementos of life in Leicester have been preserved for future generations as a time capsule was sealed away in a former bank vault in the basement of The Gresham.

The time capsule is intended to preserve a snapshot of Leicester and life in 2021. It will not be opened until at least 2080 – 200 years after the building was first built.

It contained memorabilia and items donated from many sources including BBC Radio Leicester, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, Leicester Riders Basketball Club, King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and Leicester City Football Club.

Sealed in an old bank vault in the basement of the Gresham, a plaque is being placed outside to mark the existence of the time capsule for the future.

The old vault room containing a cast iron bank safe, was one of many historical features discovered during the renovations of The Gresham. It continued to be in use until retailer, Fenwick, occupiers from 1962, exited the building in 2017.

David Illingworth, Fenwick Leicester’s store manager for 21 years attended the sealing of the time capsule and supplied contents including a book about the history of Fenwick. He was able to recount how he used the vault at the end of every day of his working life at Fenwick.

Snizhana Yesaulenko, from developer, Aimrok holdings said,

“The vault is one of the many beautiful historical items that we discovered when stripping down the building. We have tried to preserve as many original features as we could, and it seemed a shame to block the vault up without any recognition. So we felt the time capsule was the perfect way to preserve this part of the building’s history.

“I would like to thank every person and organisation that contributed to its contents – and those who came along to witness the capsule’s sealing – including David, the LLEP, Leicester City Council and BBC Radio Leicester. We have locked away a chapter in history that in 59 years’ time, someone will open and hopefully enjoy discovering a glimpse of today’s life.”

The LLEP has invested a £4m Growing Places Fund loan towards the redevelopment of the former Fenwicks department store and this enabled the developers to commence the work on the £11m project.


Pictured Left to Right: David Illingworth (former Fenwick store manager); Rani Mahal (LLEP Board Director); Snizhana Yesaulenko (Aimrok Director); Kamlesh Purohit (BBC Radio Leicester); Colin Sharpe (Leicester City Council); Mark Copson (Aimrok Director).

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