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Stevenage Museum is on the hunt for a design gem from the mid-20th century.

This teacher’s chair was made locally at the ESA. It was designed by James Leonard and made using an aluminium frame and bent plywood. It was part of a range that included desks, tables and chairs made fit for the modern schools being built after the Second world War. The designs were beautiful in their simplicity and supremely practical: tables stacked efficiently, chairs were designed to be both comfortable and supportive.

Almost every British bum of the period must have sat on a James Leonard chair and by 1950 the rest of the furniture industry lobbied parliament to change the rules for school furniture as the ESA aluminium range had a virtual monopoly and the rest simply couldn’t compete.

The X200 sold in the millions, but what happened to the design intended for teachers, the X202, arguably the most elegant chair design ever seen?

The X202 photographs were in the 1947 catalogues in pride of place. By 1951 it had been discontinued and replaced by a much cheaper version based on the X200 chair. They must have been produced in numbers, even if less than the basic X200, but where are they now? Is there one lurking in a loft, dusty and long forgotten? Today the museum is sending the call-out - help us solve the Mystery of the X202!

If you can help, please email or call 01438 218 881 during open hours.