Hidden aspects of Beccles uncovered in new book

A ticket for the stand at Beccles Races, 1743

A ticket for the stand at Beccles Races, 1743. - Credit: Rix Collection, courtesy of Beccles Town Council

The lesser-known and hidden aspects of a historic market town have been explored in a new book.

Delving into Beccles’ hidden past, popular author and historian Barry Darch is showcasing a wealth of little-known or previously unpublished material in his new book 'Secret Beccles'.

Dr Darch - the current mayor of Beccles - said: "Have you ever walked past a building in Beccles and wondered what the initials on it might mean?

Mayor of Beccles, Barry Darch,

Mayor of Beccles, Barry Darch, right. - Credit: John Swanbury

"You may well find the answer in Secret Beccles."

The front cover of Secret Beccles, by Barry Darch.

The front cover of Secret Beccles, by Barry Darch. - Credit: Barry Darch

The 96-page book, which is published by Amberley Publishing, follows the success of the author’s Beccles Through Time.

Exploring some of the less well-known aspects of the town’s history, chapters include ‘Puddingmoor - Street of Surprises’ and ‘Secrets of the Common’.

A ‘mystery’ object in Puddingmoor, the purpose of which is revealed in Secret Beccles

A ‘mystery’ object in Puddingmoor, the purpose of which is revealed in Secret Beccles. - Credit: Barry Darch

A particular feature is the ‘Did You Know?’ section of each chapter.

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Dr Darch added: "For example, did you know that the stage play Ask Beccles was performed on the London stage in 1926 and was later adapted into a film released by Paramount Pictures?"

A poster for Sports on the Common, 1838

A poster for Sports on the Common, 1838. - Credit: Rix Collection, courtesy of Beccles Town Council

The book documents several well-known authors who have Beccles connections or who used the name of Beccles in their works.

It also considers several people who had Beccles as their surname, including one whose name was given to the dinosaur Becklespinax.

Poster for Charles Green’s Grand Balloon Ascent from the Corporation Wharf, 1848

Poster for Charles Green’s Grand Balloon Ascent from the Corporation Wharf, 1848 - Credit: Rix Collection, courtesy of Beccles Town Council

And is there a Beccles anywhere else in the world? You will need to read the book to find out.

Secret Beccles includes many historic and previously unpublished images, as well as several recently taken.

Beccles swans, a reminder that the town once had a swannery with its own distinctive swan mark

Beccles swans, a reminder that the town once had a swannery with its own distinctive swan mark. - Credit: Tom Ward

An artist’s impression of the ancient market cross (which was removed in the second half of the 18th century) based on records of repairs and alterations to it has been specially drawn for the book.

Dr Darch said: With a past stretching back to Anglo-Saxon times and beyond and having been for centuries the third town of Suffolk, Beccles has yielded many fascinating nuggets of history that deserve to be shared.

‘Beccles and District Museum has been a great source of information, not least because of the digitised records now available and the searchable database.

"Secret Beccles is dedicated to the many generous people past and present who have staffed and supported the medical facilities of Beccles."

The book costs £15.99 and will be on sale at Beccles Books in Exchange Square where the author will be holding a book signing on Saturday, July 16 from 11am to 1 pm.

Copies will also be available at the Museum in Ballygate.