Fears for the future of town's museum

By David LennardA MUSEUM celebrating a town's long association with the printing industry may be forced to close unless a permanent new home can be secured.

By David Lennard

A MUSEUM celebrating a town's long association with the printing industry may be forced to close unless a permanent new home can be secured.

Since opening in the mid-1980s, the Beccles Museum of Print has been housed in part of the William Clowes printing building in the town centre.

However, the printing company is moving to new premises on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Beccles and its current home is being demolished to make way for a Tesco supermarket.

Trustees of the museum have spent the past year searching for new premises for the museum, but admit it will cost several hundred thousand pounds to secure its future. If a new home cannot be found, it is likely the museum will have to close by the end of August.

Museum trust chairman, Peter Medley, said a possible new venue had been identified, but it would cost £85,000 to purchase.

Most Read

“It is not just a question of buying a suitable property because it will have to be adapted to meet all the health and safety requirements needed before we can admit the public,” he added.

“We estimate that it will cost in the region of £300,000 to purchase and fit out a new building and I admit I am floundering when we talk about that sort of money.”

The museum is one of the largest print museums in the country and is home to rare printing memorabilia that covers the hot metal and lithography eras.

Mr Medley said the company was working closely with the Beccles Society to try to find a solution to the problem.

“We most certainly have not given up and are in the process of applying for lottery grants and other grants to see if they can help us,” he added.

“I do believe that for the museum to continue, it has to be in the centre of Beccles so that members of the public have good access.”

Museum trustees will be contacting Tesco management to see if it can help as the supermarket company has yet to submit a detailed planning application for the site in Newgate.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter