Return of Historical Artefacts A Priority

The Celtic League AGM held on the Isle of Man last weekend (10/11 July) once again turned its attention to the vexed issue of the retention in British
cultural institutions in England, of artefacts from the various Celtic

AGM delegates were told that a recent BBC current affairs programme had
highlighted the fact that such institutions were so full of material that large
numbers of items are never likely to be exhibited. The problem had led to the creation of a new genre of employee called `clutter-busters’ hired by some institutions to sort out for sale or disposal unwanted material.

Delegates felt that the Celtic League should (resources permitting) compile a
list of artefacts from the Celtic country which should more appropriately be
housed and exhibited in their countries of origin.

Delegates from Scotland reported that part of the Lewis chess set held by the
British museum had been returned (combined with pieces already in Scotland) to be put on display over a two year period at diverse locations across the country including the Western Isles.

The Mannin branch delegates referred to Manx government attempts to press the UK over `The Chronicles” and said that this had been weak and ineffectual and embarrassingly the Manx government had crumpled at the first sign of opposition.

Delegates said that previously determination and perseverance had indicated initial intransigence could be overcome, as with the pressure in the 1980s on the UK by the League over the ownership of the Calf of Man (the small Island off the south coast of Man).

It was felt that National governments in Scotland, Wales and Mannin should be urged to prevail upon the British government to see the logic of returning
artefacts to countries where they might be on permanent display rather than
holding them in storage or out of public view in England.

After a lengthy discussion the following resolution was eventually adopted:

This AGM: Reiterates the objective of the Celtic League to have artefacts (such as the Lewis Chessmen and the Chronicles of the Kings Man and the Isles) which were removed from the Celtic countries to be returned to their countries of origin as soon as is practical. Urges the Celtic League to renew an active campaign to achieve this objective.


Chronicles campaign link:

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


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