A 30-YEAR-OLD forgotten time capsule has been discovered by chance in a cubbyhole under the stage of Nower Hill High School.

The box, which was hidden in 1979 to mark the school's golden jubilee, was meant to be opened 25 years after it was first buried.

However, it appears its existence fell from collective memory and it was not until the object was mentioned in passing to site supervisor John Winter that he took up the mission of finding the treasure.

After being told to look in the vicinity of the main hall at the school in George V Avenue, Pinner, Mr Winter located an odd panel underneath the stage, which he had to unscrew.

He crawled into the dusty depths of the hole, and found what he thought was an old tea chest. After dragging it into the light, he realised he had unearthed the long lost time capsule - five years later than planned.

It proved to a history lesson very close to home when the box was prized open in front of intrigued staff and students.

George Nagle, deputy headteacher, said: "The contents were in a generally good condition, almost as if they'd been buried yesterday, although some of the contents had been chewed by the mice living in it."

The contents included schoolwork, items of PE equipment, details of the school's academic aspirations, an essay entitled 'My Life At Nower Hill In 1979' and even a dining room menu.

Items of woodwork made by pupils were enclosed, alongside a cassette tape recording of their jubilee concert and a cine film of a trip to Italy.

Ironically, in a school full of mod cons, it is the lack of 20th Century technology that has proved stumbling block, according to Mr Nagle.

He said: "We haven't got a projector or cassette player!"

The chest also contained a letter from the then headmaster, Frank Gristwood, typed via typewriter, listing all of the capsule's enclosed objects.

He wrote: "We hope that the contents of our capsule are found to be interesting and some of us hope to be around when it is opened to enjoy some nostalgia and to help in explaining the contents."

With that in mind, the school celebrating the capsule's discovery by putting everything on display on Friday, December 4, between 4pm and 8pm.

Students who attended between 1975 and 1979 are invited to "have a cup of tea, catch up with some old friends and share some memories".