A MYSTERIOUS message from the past has been uncovered during works to renew an iconic entertainment venue in a historic town hall.

Refurbishment work started at the Princes Theatre, in Clacton, immediately after this year's Aladdin pantomime run came to an end.

The venue is located inside the Grade II listed Clacton Town Hall, which was designed in 1926 by architect Sir A Brumwell Thomas.

Opened in 1931 by H.R.H Prince Arthur of Connaught, the main auditorium of the Princes Theatre has recently been redecorated in a regal red, white and gold colour scheme, as part of an ongoing maintenance programme funded by the Princes Theatre restoration fund.

%image('17669991', type="article-full", alt="Historic- inside the Princes Theatre in Clacton")

Whilst removing the stage at the theatre, originally built between 1928 and 1931, staff found a large trapdoor leading down to the cast’s dressing rooms - confirming decades-old rumours.

After exploring the find, workers discovered old cigarette packets which appear to have been left by the original builders.

They also found old electrical outlets which they believe would have been used to control stage lighting.

Also hidden within the newly discovered space was a note written three decades ago, which included the name Ron Jessop, dated 03/02/1993 and the words Prince Theatre.

Management personnel at the theatre believe this person was an outside contractor as the 's' is missing from Princes. 

They would now like to track down Mr Jessop to let him know his message has been found.

Since the find, staff have planted their own time capsule for future generations to unearth.

It contains the original note, as well as their own new note with a list of names of the staff working at the theatre and a message saying "Hello from the past to the future".

%image('17669949', type="article-full", alt="Impressed- Tendring Council cabinet member for leisure and public realm")

Mick Barry, cabinet member for leisure and public realm at Tendring Council, which runs the theatre, was impressed with the refurbishment and intrigued by the staff’s findings.

He said: “We are appealing to anyone who can help us track down Mr Jessop so that we can learn more about the theatre’s history and let him know that we found his note.

“Following a record-breaking box office pantomime, we are delighted with the redecoration to improve the customer experience and expect this will attract more customers, hirers and shows for the years to come.

“I’d also like to express my gratitude to the Princes Theatre team for their dedication to completing this fantastic work on such a short time scale, in time for a busy programme of shows for the new year.”

If you have any information about Mr Jessop, the theatre is asking people to contact the Princes Theatre by calling 01255 686633.