September 25th, 2016

Doctor Page and the time-capsule mystery

Doctor Page and the time-capsule mystery Doctor Page and the time-capsule mystery
Updated: 3:28 pm, Jun 24, 2016

IT is becoming apparent that one man was probably responsible for creating the capsule and filling its contents. That man was Doctor Herbert Page.

Born in 1850 in Norfolk, Dr Page had a general practice in Redditch by 1873, and was the Redditch Medical Officer of Health from 1873 to 1880.

Derek Coombes explained: “He wrote the ‘Second annual report on the sanitary condition of the urban sanitary authority of Redditch’, for 1875 and despite his report there were more than 800 ratepayers of Redditch and Headless Cross who thought that a water works and new sewage system were unnecessary and in 1877 signed a petition to that effect.

In fact the sewage scheme was not begun until 1881 and in 1882 the East Worcestershire Water Company works were opened and mains water brought in from Headless Cross to Redditch.

Dr Page also contributed to the discussions concerning the suitability of sites for a Redditch hospital and also played an active role in the Redditch Literary and Scientific Institute. He was also a member of the first sub-committee of the new Redditch Technical School, which opened in 1900, and was also curator of its museum.

In the Headless Cross time capsule there is another container marked ‘Historical Documents’ and this contains a list of contents of the time capsule and a ‘Local Notes and Synopsis of the Progress of Wesleyanism in Headless Cross’.

“These two documents appear to be typed originals by Herbert Page and contain corrections and annotations in his own handwriting,” said Derek.

“He compiled various scrapbooks consisting of newspaper cuttings bequeathed him by William Avery, including those of his own contributions to the Redditch Indicator, and other documents. These compilations were presented to the Institute for its library and are held in the present Redditch Library.

“This work probably led to the time capsule containing an original copy of Avery’s booklet, Old Redditch, an Early History of the Town, and this too contains annotations in Page’s own hand.”

By 1881 Page was living at 16 Prospect Hill with his five-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. He remarried in 1886 and by 1906 he had moved away to Somerset. He died in October 1916 after a long illness.

“His funeral took place at Redditch Cemetery,” said Derek. “The Birmingham Daily Post noted that Herbert Page ‘for thirty years was most closely associated with local public affairs’.

“We also believe that it is Dr Page we have to thank for the time capsule recovered from the Headless Cross Methodist Church in 2016.”

n Based upon research and original work by Angela Webster.