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Leman artefacts heading for Beccles

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:42 01 August 2010

IT was confirmed this week that funding has been secured for an exciting new exhibition of Sir John Leman artefacts at the Beccles and District Museum.

IT was confirmed this week that funding has been secured for an exciting new exhibition of Sir John Leman artefacts at the Beccles and District Museum.

A grant of £6,813 has been donated by the National Lottery's Awards for All scheme which will allow the transference of the Sir John Leman items from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The items, which are currently in storage at the museum, include a full size 16th century portrait of Sir John Leman, his gold signet ring and a Victorian folio with details of the vast procession in London that celebrated his inauguration as Lord Mayor of London in 1616.

Sir John Leman was a highly influential businessman in London and East Anglia, who also owned property in Beccles and Brampton.

When he died in 1632 he endowed a free school in Beccles for the education of 48 boys, 44 from Beccles, two from Barsham and two from Ringsfield.

The building in Ballygate, now known as Leman House, was adapted for use as the school, and the boys lived in dormitories in the roof space.

The school lasted for well over two centuries in this building, before eventually moving to its present site in Ringsfield Road early in the 20th century.

It is hoped that the exhibition will be launched at the museum when it reopens on April 1 2009.

John Brodribb, curator at the Beccles and District Museum, said: “We want to promote Sir John as a local hero. Everybody here knows his name and is familiar with him in some way but this exhibition will fill in the gaps and give a sense of what the man behind the title was really like. His influence was far-reaching in this area and even the building we're based in is called 'Leman House'. The collection from the V&A is outstanding.”

It is expected that the items will arrive in Beccles in January, and there will be a series of special preview events before the official opening.

Meanwhile another local beneficiary from the Awards for All scheme was the Halesworth Day Centre, which was awarded £5,587 to upgrade its kitchen facilities.

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