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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 11:36 GMT
Wig flown back to historic home
Sir Lewis Beard wearing the wig
The wig is now on display in Blackburn (Pic: Blackburn Council)
A ceremonial wig that once belonged to a Lancashire town clerk has been sent back to its rightful home, after it was found in a museum in the United States.

The wig once belonged to Sir Lewis Beard, who was the long-serving town clerk of Blackburn from 1903 to 1930.

Staff at the Early American Museum in Mahomet, Illinois, found the hairpiece in their basement and managed to trace its roots back to the English town.

The wig has now gone on display at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

Councillor Michael Law-Riding, executive member for leisure and culture for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "We got a call from America saying they had found this wig - they had made the Blackburn connection by searching our Cottontown website.

"It was agreed that the wig should return to its proper home in Blackburn."

Held by customs

It was sent more than 4,000 miles by air, but its journey did not go as smoothly as was hoped.

Councillor Law-Riding said: "Disaster nearly struck when the wig, which is housed in a beautifully painted tin case, was impounded by British Customs.

"We were afraid that the wig would be sent back to the United States - luckily we were able to explain that as a gift from one museum to another, it is exempt from import tax."

It is thought the wig ended up in the States, as Lewis Beard, who was knighted in 1919 in recognition of his outstanding service to the local community, married an American in 1890.

The wig may have been returned to her side of the family when Beard died in 1933.

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