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Who is the mystery man in the locket found buried at Kendal?
A LONG-lost family heirloom has been discovered during a dig at the former Kendal Auction Mart.
The silver locket, potentially worth hundreds of pounds, was found by archaeologists buried two feet deep in the foundations of what was once an 18th Century cottage in Appleby Road.
There is uncertainty about how old the locket is, but the black and white photograph of the young man is said to date to around 1890-1910.
Those behind the find hope people may recognise the man in the photo so they can reunite it with the family. Or it could end up in Kendal Museum. Work recently started on the former auction mart site to build the first of 94 houses and flats in a joint £4.9 million venture between housing association Home Group Ltd, and developers Time and Tide Group.
Home Group project manager Gail Staton, from Kendal, said: “It’s really quite exciting. The photograph is really good and really clear and it’s the first thing we have found that is quite substantial. We would love to see this locket returned to its rightful owner. It’s a very formal picture, the sort of portrait which copies may have been given to family members so we’re hoping someone will recognise it.”
Jane Hopwood, of Time and Tide, added: “The locket is obviously something that has been given as a gift, or a token of love. It must have been quite significant for that day and age. He was a handsome young man, very smart-looking, and he may have given it to someone before going off to the war, not necessarily the First World War but the Boer War.”
How the precious locket came to be in the foundations of the old cottages is a mystery, which has led to theories that it may have been hidden or accidentally dropped and fallen through the floorboards.
Melissa Melikian, of AOC Archaeology Group, which conducted the dig, said they were looking for possible medieval remains. “We dug two trenches and although we didn’t find any medieval remains we did uncover remains of an 18th Century cottage and a 19th century mill.”
Anyone who can identify the man or the history of the locket, call Home Group on 0191 2907908.