Almost 100 years-old and still unread – the mystery of the Cambs letter

Kimbolton resident, Owen Spice has had an unopened letter dating from 1921 in his possession for 40

Kimbolton resident, Owen Spice has had an unopened letter dating from 1921 in his possession for 40 years and hopes to find relatives of the addressee - Credit: Archant

It is not often you find interest in a letter addressed to someone else, but a mysterious message written nearly a century ago has been causing quite a stir for one Kimbolton man.

Owen Spice, from Tollfield, has spent the last 40 years trying to track down relatives of the addressee to return the message, which was sent from France in 1921.

There are many theories behind the handwritten message but not much is known for one reason – the letter has never been opened.

Despite temptations, the envelope has been sealed shut for 93 years and the contents written inside remain unknown.

Mr Spice, 72, said: “I think that it should be opened by one of the family, if it should be opened at all.”


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Addressed to Mrs Carter, the letter was passed on to Mr Spice after it was found during a house clearance in Carters Yard by his friend Tommy Quirke.

The blue envelope, stamped August 16, 1921, was originally sent to the estate office of Kimbolton Castle.

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Mr Spice inherited many salvaged items from the clearance due to his interest in historical artefacts as he worked as an antique restorer at the time.

“I donated a lot of stuff to the Kimbolton Historical Society,” said Mr Spice. “But there was one thing left that I could not part with which was this unopened letter, which I still have not opened.”

Mr Spice said he has never been tempted to open the envelope on the principle that it is not his to open, although he is very intrigued what it may contain.

The now-retired antique restorer donated lots of photographs from the house, which he believes was cleared after the death of Mrs Carter.

Nora Butler, chairman of Kimbolton Local Historical Society, said the Carter family lived on High Street and were originally agents to the Duke of Manchester.

The name Carter is also mentioned on the War Memorial and in reference to Firman Gordon Carter, who died in action at the Somme in 1916.

A window at St Andrew’s Church in Kimbolton also commemorates the 20-year-old soldier, alongside his cousin Henry Gordon Carter, who died at Suvla Bay in 1915.

With no relatives left in the village, Mr Spice has asked around the area and been in contact with old residents of the area who remember the Carter family.

Despite Mr Spice’s best efforts, no one related to the family has been found and the unread letter from France remains unopened.

He said: “The reason I held onto the letter was because it was unopened and I didn’t want anyone else to open it, but it would be nice to find the next of kin.”

INFORMATION: If you know anything about the Carter family, call The Hunts Post on 01480 443449.

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