School time capsule hunt — 25 years on

The King George Avenue building in 1922
The King George Avenue building in 1922

The search is on for a time capsule buried at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy 25 years ago.

The academy wants to find the time capsule and replace it with a new one as part of celebrations being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the site.

A limited edition book is also being created and will include memories of former staff and pupils at the academy, which was formerly known as Ilkeston County Secondary School, Ilkeston Grammar School and Ilkeston School.

Roger Mitchell, 66, was a former student at Ilkeston, attending between 1958 and 1965. He returned as a teacher in 1969 and has been asked to write the foreword in the book.

He said: “I have very happy memories of my time as a student and teacher at the school and I’m very proud to have been asked to write the foreword.

“I went to Ilkeston School in September 1958 and left in 1965 to study at the University of Birmingham.

“I got the job as a teacher there in rather unusual circumstances. I received a telegram from the then head of Ilkeston School, David Cox, which just said ‘phone Cox’.

“I found a telephone box and rang him and he told me that there was a teaching job on offer and he interviewed me on the phone, that was what things were like then. I was offered the job in a phone box.”

As well as teaching History and Geography, Mr Mitchell, of Ilkeston, held a number of positions in school including Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head Teacher before retiring in 2007.

Jill Smith, 73, of Long Eaton, attended a memory sharing event held at the academy and said it was the first time she had returned since leaving in 1956.

She said: “The building looks just the same as I remember it. I have very fond memories of the school. It was quite strict back then, there was no messing about.

“I always remember being sent to see the head teacher for talking to someone during an exam. I was absolutely petrified and he gave me a right telling of. I never did it again.”

Kate Le Prevost, Extended Services Officer at OIEA, is organising the centenary celebrations with the students.

She said: “We are still really interested in hearing people’s memories of the school and sharing any photos that they might have.

“We also need to find the time capsule and have a look what’s in it and replace it with the new one. We know it exists because there is a newspaper report about it which is held at Ilkeston Library.

“We will be doing a small consultation in the New Year to find out what people think we should place in the new time capsule.”