BAYEUX BID

Coun­cil sup­ports calls to dis­play tapestry in city

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page - By Gerry War­ren gwar­[email protected]­m­group.co.uk @Ger­ry_war­ren

An am­bi­tious bid could be launched by the city coun­cil to bring the Bayeux Tapestry to Can­ter­bury, we can re­veal.

French pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron is ex­pected to con­firm to­day (Thurs­day) that the famed 11th cen­tury arte­fact will leave France for the first time in 950 years.

But it is be­lieved no venues to host the 240ft-long tapestry have yet been de­cided upon.

And city chiefs say if that’s the case, they’ll look to en­sure Can­ter­bury is in the run­ning to host such a pres­ti­gious ex­hi­bi­tion.

His­to­ri­ans be­lieve the tapestry, which de­picts the Nor­man con­quest of Bri­tain and has been kept in a museum in Bayeux in Nor­mandy for 950 years, was ac­tu­ally made in Can­ter­bury.

Now the city coun­cil says it will work with other lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions in an ef­fort to bring it back to the city if the op­por­tu­nity arises.

French and Bri­tish cul­ture of­fi­cials have ap­par­ently been talk­ing for months about the pos­si­bil­ity of the pre­cious work be­ing loaned for ex­hi­bi­tion to the UK.

Book­mak­ers Lad­brokes was quot­ing 5-1 on it com­ing to Can­ter­bury, but evens on it be­ing dis­played in the Bri­tish Museum.

Coun­cil spokesman Rob Davies said: “It’s in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing that the Bayeux Tapestry may be com­ing to the UK.

“It is al­most cer­tainly true that it was made here, and there is a very cred­i­ble ar­gu­ment that Can­ter­bury, a mod­ern city but with a strong rep­u­ta­tion for her­itage, is its nat­u­ral home and should be the place where peo­ple get to see it.

“Al­though there has been no for­mal an­nounce­ment yet, we’re al­ready talk­ing to other lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions about the pos­si­bil­i­ties this opens up for Can­ter­bury and will be press­ing the city’s case at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.”

How­ever, lead­ing city his­to­rian Paul Bennett of the Can­ter­bury Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Trust thinks it is un­likely to be shown any­where in the city, de­spite its his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions.

He said: “Be­cause of its fragility, it has yet to be es­tab­lished whether the tapestry can even be moved from the museum in Bayeux.

“It’s a truly great thing and it will be won­der­ful if it can come to Bri­tain where it would gen­er­ate huge interest.

“There is a school of thought that it was made in Can­ter­bury at St Au­gus­tine’s Abbey. But it’s a for­mi­da­ble thing and it’s hard to think where it could be dis­played in the city.

“Even if it can be moved from France, I think it is more likely to be ex­hib­ited some­where like the Bri­tish Museum or V&A where it would be seen by many more peo­ple.”

Re­ports sug­gested the visit is not ex­pected for a fur­ther five years.

What do you think? Email us at ken­[email protected]­m­group.co.uk.

City chiefs are hop­ing to en­sure Can­ter­bury will be in the run­ning to host the world-fa­mous Bayeux Tapestry

Pic­ture: Google Images

Can­ter­bury Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Trust direc­tor Paull Bennett

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