Byron versus Elgin


14 pages | Illustrated

ISBN: 978 0 85124 6178



By Ken Coates

In 1998, Newstead Abbey was directly in the line of advance of projected colliery workings, and there were real fears that undermining it could cause serious damage to the buildings, possibily even collapsing them. This was the problem which gave rise to the campaign to save Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron. Ken Coates, then the local Member of the European Parliament, decided to try to extend the well-organised campaign of British supporters, and seek help in Greece, to prevent possible destruction of the Abbey and the Byron museum. He wrote to all the Greek Members of the European Parliament, and received a virtually unanimous response. The concern was spontaneous. It was at this point that he realised that it was necessary that solidarity should engender reciprocal support. With the Greek people so impressively united in defence of the heritage of Lord Byron, did we not need to elicit a matching response in Britain to the continued theft of the ‘Elgin’ Marbles in the British Museum, taken from the Parthenon shortly before Byron’s own first visit to Athens?