Every year on the nearest Saturday to Midsummer’s Day, the parishioners of Oulton and Irmingland meet up on the village playing field for a day of celebration to mark the installation of the Millennium Box in Oulton Chapel, which took place in the year 2000.
The Millennium Box is a ‘time capsule’ of the parish, to be opened by future inhabitants. It is a large metal box containing 100 smaller boxes -one for each house. Each household was given one of these smaller boxes and people were asked to put into it any objects and/or information they thought might be of interest to future occupants of their house. Each box also contained a photograph of the current occupants standing in front of their house.
In June 2000 everyone in the parish met at Oulton Congregational Chapel to place their sealed boxes in the steel container which was welded shut. This container was finally placed in a carved oak outer casing. If you visit the Chapel you will find the box in the gallery upstairs, with a small notice on the wall explaining what it is. The box will remain sealed for 100 years and then when opened, each individual box will be returned to its house – a message from us all in the year 2000 to the future occupants of our houses in 2100.
To commemorate the Box, we have an informal day at the playground, organised by a small group of volunteers. There are usually races and games for the children (with prizes), the annual village rounders match (with trophy), food and drink, and in the evening there is music and a bonfire. In a scattered parish such as ours, it is very difficult to get to know people, particularly as we lack a village hall. Box Day is a chance for our community to get together, an opportunity to meet friends and neighbours and to get to know each other.
Copies of the original photographs which went into the boxes are on display at Box Day, so as a newcomer, come along and see who was living in your house in the year 2000. We hope to update the display so if you’d like your family and house to be represented, please contact the organiser whose name appears below, and they will arrange for someone to come and take your photograph.
If you would like to volunteer to help next Box Day, please contact Antonia Soto on 01263 734324