Lost artefact found in Eastbourne safe

The Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Pat Hearn with the 1883 'Charter for the Town of Eastbourne' which has been restored and is to go on display at Eastbourne Town Hall. It shown at the recent Art Exhibition held by the Society of Eastbourne Artists at Eastbourne Town Hall. SUS-180514-130254001
The Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Pat Hearn with the 1883 'Charter for the Town of Eastbourne' which has been restored and is to go on display at Eastbourne Town Hall. It shown at the recent Art Exhibition held by the Society of Eastbourne Artists at Eastbourne Town Hall. SUS-180514-130254001

Eastbourne mayor Pat Hearn rounded off her mayoral duties in style last week by having a sneak preview of a treasured artefact lost for decades.

The mayor was shown the original Royal Charter of Incorporation from 1883, when the town was granted its “borough” status.

The document, which features the seal of Queen Victoria, had been filed away and effectively lost for decades. The mayor embarked on a treasure hunt and it was eventually discovered by the Mayor’s chauffeur wrapped up in a tatty brown envelope in a Victorian safe in the Town Hall.

The charter document is made of vellum – animal skin – so had endured the years in solitude without too many side effects. However, it needed extensive restoration by the council’s Heritage team before being framed.

Mrs Hearn was invited to see the document and hear about its history before it goes on permanent display in the Town Hall later this year.

She said, “The parchment has little monetary value, but is absolutely priceless to the town. It is an important part of our history and will now be preserved and displayed for future generations.”