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Season gets underway for Beccles Museum

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:05 01 August 2010

THIS year has already been an important one for Beccles and District Museum - and the season hasn't even started yet.

The museum reopens tomorrow following the acquisition of a full-size three quarter length portrait of Beccles 17th century businessman Sir John Leman in January - and the new display will become a tribute to stalwart museum supporter Peter Clarke, who died recently.

THIS year has already been an important one for Beccles and District Museum - and the season hasn't even started yet.

The museum reopens tomorrow following the acquisition of a full-size three quarter length portrait of Beccles 17th century businessman Sir John Leman in January - and the new display will become a tribute to stalwart museum supporter Peter Clarke, who died recently.

For many years Mr Clarke played the part of Sir John Leman for various events held at the Museum. He welcomed the portrait of Sir John to the museum in January, shortly before his death, and curator John Brodribb said trustees had decided this season at the Museum should be dedicated to his memory.

tomorrow will be the first chance for the public to see the new Sir John Leman exhibition since its arrival. It includes the gold signet ring he is wearing in the portrait, his silver seal and the chain of office of the Baron of the Exchequer, and a 19th century folio of his mayoral procession, which was bigger and grander than anything that had gone before.

All of the items are part of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert collection, on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V and A) in London. In turn the V and A are loaning them to Beccles and District Museum.

The displays about Sir John Leman tell the story of his life, and how he became one of the wealthiest men of his time.

Meanwhile many other displays and exhibits in the museum have been refreshed and improved, and if you missed the exhibition about Barsham and Shipmeadow at the end of last year, it is back in the museum until the start of May.

It will then be replaced by displays about the East Suffolk Railway, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and during May the exhibition will include a show of Victorian clothes typical of those worn by women at the time the railway opened in 1859.

This season the museum will be open from 2.15-5pm every afternoon except Mondays, although it will be open on Bank Holidays.

The museum is appealing for help with its railway display. Does anyone have any items relating to the railway at Beccles or Brampton that they are prepared to lend for the display? Call the curator, John Brodribb, on 01502 716961, if you have. More volunteers are also needed to help with stewarding and other duties.

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