Time capsule could be buried 'in the stairs' of £10m development site in Northampton

The former Fat Cats premises in Bridge Street could be restored as the Angel Hotel if a Northampton group of businessmen's 10m scheme is successful. But the site could be home to an important relic.
The former Fat Cats premises in Bridge Street could be restored as the Angel Hotel if a Northampton group of businessmen's 10m scheme is successful. But the site could be home to an important relic.

A brother and sister whose family ran one of Northampton's finest hotels during its glory days believe the soon-to-be renovated site could be home to a mysterious time capsule.

A fortnight ago Old Northampton Group announced plans to knock down the former Fat Cats bar in Bridge Street and revert it back to its former name - The Angel Hotel - as part of £10 million scheme.

Jonathan Williams.

Jonathan Williams.

But Jonathan Williams, the managing director of St Giles-based tailors Montague Jeffery and fellow director Sally Williams, have called on the developers to try and locate a hidden relic buried in an unknown location there.

The brother and sister have a connection to the Angel Hotel stretching back to 1908, when their great-grandfather Francis Tonsley, was its proprietor.

Their grandfather Percy Williams later ran the premises, believed to have been one of the UK's oldest coaching inns, between 1923 and 1947 and their father, David Williams was even born in the front room there in 1934.

But, though they are thrilled at the promise of the hotel being brought back to life, they are hoping a time capsule long thought to have been buried 'in' a stairwell there can be located.

Plans submitted for the new hotel.

Plans submitted for the new hotel.

Sally said: "Father always used to say to us that there was this time capsule buried in the steps at the Angel Hotel.

"I don't know when it was put in there but it was a long time ago, maybe 40 or 50 years ago.

"We didn't want the developers to come along with a big bulldozer and not see it.

"It would be really interesting to see what is in there."

After being approached by the Chron, a spokesman for Old Northampton Group said he would be happy to allow Mr and Mrs Williams onto the site once building begins.

The group is yet to submit a full planning application for the site, which was mostly destroyed by fire in 2013, but has worked closely with English Heritage to develop the proposals.

Jonathan said he has very little more detail about the time capsule or why it was placed beneath the stairs of the hotel. His father David, a lawyer for the firm Hewitsons, sadly died in 2002.

"The problem is there is no one alive in the family now to ask about it," said Jonathan.

"My father said to me if anything happens to the Angel Hotel, please remember there is a time capsule buried in the steps. It would be nice to see it preserved."

Plans for the new Angel Hotel are set to be submitted in September, with construction work due to commence in “early 2018”.

For more about the proposals, click on the link here.