Roofers restoring a Southampton landmark made a startling discovery when they unearthed part of a Southern Daily Echo newspaper which is 85 years old.

Dated March 30, 1937, the 85-year-old clippings found in the Westgate roof include a front page titled ‘Mercury boy’s funeral – full naval honours at Hamble.’

Other news stories of the time, include: ‘Murdered man’s career – once butler to a millionaire’, ‘At the law courts – alleged assault with small garden fork’, and ‘Rising value of old metal.’

Daily Echo: Echo newspaper dating back 85 years found at historic city landmarkThe find was made during a city-wide £6m restoration project of Southampton's historic monuments.

Southampton City Council, whose contractors made the discovery last week while removing lead from the roof, believes the pages were left there as a quasi-time capsule.

A council spokesperson added: “As well as this, a carefully stamped lead plaque was alongside the newspaper pages, placed there especially for the next roofers to find in the future.

“Who knew it would be over 85 years until they were uncovered?

“Very little information has survived about the restoration of the Westgate in the 1930s, so it is particularly useful to have this new dating evidence.”

Daily Echo:

The rediscovered addition of the Echo also features multiple advertisements.

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One of which is for Southampton’s ice rink, while another showcases a performance of Dorothy L. Sayer’s novel – Busman’s Honeymoon – at the city’s Grand Theatre that was demolished in 1960.

The review for the murder mystery is described as “the best for years.”

Daily Echo:

Additionally, a lead plaque was found at the site, imprinted with the name Fred Pitcher.

Volunteers have conducted research following the discovering and believe descendants of Fred Pitcher could still live locally.

The newspapers and the lead plaque have been lifted and are in safekeeping at the Southampton City Council's Archaeology Unit.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council said: “This remarkable discovery offers invaluable insights to the restoration of Westgate in the 1930’s.

"Very little information has survived from that period due to the bombing of our city, so this discovery offers an extraordinary contribution into insight and an understanding of Southampton’s history and story.

"At a time of constant change, it’s important to preserve our heritage for future generations."