Sunday, April 1, 2012

Proclaim liberty for cultural property!

© David Gill
In a surprise move, the Walford Campanological Society based in London's East End has requested the return of the so-called "Liberty Bell" currently displayed in Philadelphia. Recent research in the National Archives has suggested that some of the cost is still outstanding.

Spokesperson Phil Mitchell gave a statement: "This 'Auntie Nell' forms part of the East End's history. It needs to be put on display where it belongs: and that is in Walford."

A local historian, Albert Cubey, found the key documents while writing a history of bell-foundries in London's East End. "The correspondence was bound into a leather ledger for the foundry. It appears that part of the final payment was never made, and requests for the bell's return were ignored."

A spokesperson for the US National Parks Service said that she was unable to comment on installations linked to national security, but added that the bell was of cosmopolitan significance and should therefore be displayed in Philadelphia. She added that the return of the bell would set a dangerous precedent and lead to the potential returns of cultural property to source nations.

The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) declined an interview and suggested that all would be revealed in the documentary that had been prepared.

A programme about the Walford project will be shown on BBC1 at 8.00 pm tomorrow (Monday).

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1 comment:

Dorothy King said...

I was just there yesterday with cousins, walked past on our way from the Whitechapel Gallery to Tayyabs.

Our family is from Boston and declined to go into the museum as we support the campaign - or feel at the very least that the bell should be in Bostom. There is a very nice petition in the entance of the shop you can sign to support them.

Perhaps a letter to the Telegraph should be composed next?

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