Gloucestershire’s archives revealed (6)

How documents and cucumbers (almost) prove time travel is possible.

Throughout time, people have always asked questions that no matter how much thought is put into them, the answer will always prove to be elusive.

Questions like: can true serenity of the mind ever be achieved? Why do cucumbers need to be wrapped in plastic? Will anyone in the world, apart from me and children, ever find amusement in a whoopee cushion?

All excellent questions to ponder on, I think you’ll agree. But there is another which has been a science fiction staple for many years. It is this: is time travel possible?

My first thought on this is no, of course time travel is not possible. If it were, then where are all the people from the future, who should suddenly be appearing in a flash of light from behind walls, or inside telephone boxes? There aren’t any.

But surely time travel can only be possible from the moment that a time machine is invented, which would become the basis and starting point that no time travel can pre-date. Otherwise, we’d have many situations whereby future people could alter the course of history, setting off a chain reaction of events that would probably result in that future person ceasing to exist. And since we know history, up until this point, is pre-defined and unchangeable, it can’t happen.

Sadly though, I don’t possess even an ounce of Professor Stephen Hawking’s brain power, so I’m sure that there are far better and plausible arguments as to why time travel is or is not possible. I shall just mention black holes and say something daft, like referring to the time condensing relativity of interplanetary sub-particles, which means absolutely nothing, but might make me look good.

However, this also isn’t the place for a heated debate on time travel. Just watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure instead, and all will become clear. Or perhaps it won’t.

There is one small piece of evidence that shows time travel could be a possibility though, and it’s contained on the document that I highlighted in my last blog post. [Read it here].

It was written about plans for a proposed petrol filling station in Cheltenham, which were drawn in 1927. To me, it just looked like plans for a petrol filling station. But a few colleagues pointed out that on the overhead plan, a modern styled car seemed to have been drawn.

I looked again, and do you know, they were absolutely right. Take a look yourself:

Forecourt b-w

Overhead plan of the filling station…

Forecourt colour

…with the car highlighted.

Okay, it might not look exactly like a modern car, but it appears to be similar to an 8th generation Honda Civic hatchback. Remember too, that back then, although cars were around, they were just boxes on wheels, and lacked the sleek curves and aerodynamics of today’s vehicles.

The only way a designer or architect from 1927 could possibly have included a future style of car in their plans was either by coincidence, which is utterly boring and therefore not worth contemplating, or by the fact that Honda’s car designer travelled back in time and had huge amounts of fun by slyly dropping hints of the future into the past.

This plan then, is almost proof beyond proof that time travel is indeed possible. I hope Professor Hawking will be excited about this monumental discovery.

And the conclusion from all this? Cucumbers wrapped in plastic are so futuristic we can’t even begin to understand them yet.

Anthony Phillips, Archives Support Officer


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