SLICES of bread from a workman's packed lunch from more than a
century ago have been found perfectly preserved in a church
Leaders at the Padiham Road Methodist Church in Burnley,
Lancashire, believe that the snack was probably left inside the
Hardy & Son instrument when it was made in the 1890s. With it
were pages from the Stockton Advertiser, which included
reports of fighting in the Boer War.
The church's property steward, Peter Yates, explained that the
2500-pipe organ was being removed for a £650,000 refurbishment. "We
put it on eBay - with fingers crossed and a smile on our faces -
with a starting price of £500."
It sold for £1650 to a German buyer, but he took only the pipes
and the organ stops, leaving the church to dismantle the rest.
Mr Yates said that his wife, Kathryn, the church's organist for
30 years, and some friends, discovered that the swell box, which
controls volume, was lined with a thin layer of wood. "When they
removed it, a load of pine shavings fell out. Then they found the
newspaper, and a brown paper parcel. Inside were these pieces of
"They were hard, more like a rusk, but otherwise in perfect
condition. We have put them in an airtight box until we work out
what to do with them. The whole thing has gone viral - we have even
been offered a carbon-dating test by someone who was once a Home
"It's been suggested that it might be Britain's oldest sandwich,
but there's no filling, and we are not even sure if it was
"The organ was moved here 50 years ago, when two churches
amalgamated. It was moved in sections, and the swell box must have
come as one piece. The bread must have been left when originally
The church's minister, the Revd Phil Clarke, said that he was
getting weary of jokes about "the bread of life", and "spreading
bread on the water", but said: "We are pleased that the pipes are
going to be reused."