The following well-known British people support the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece:

Professor Michael Dummett, Professor David Lowenthal, Professor John Gould, Professor Peter Levi.

Actors and Actresses:
Joanna Lumley, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Juliet Stevenson, Julie Christie, Janet Suzman, Frances De La Tour, Sean Connery, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Peter Ustinov, Trevor Nunn.

Neal Ascherson, Jonathan Dimbleby, Isabel Hilton, Peter Tory, Simon Jenkins, Christopher Hitchens.

Christopher Hitchens dies
Friday, 16 December 2011

The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) today paid tribute to the late Christopher Hitchens who died earlier this week, for his keen support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Eleni Cubitt, Honorary Secretary for the Committee said: "We are all deeply saddened by the news of Christopher's death and we send our sincere condolences to his family at this time. Christopher's contribution and belief in our cause was a great strength to me personally and he will be sorely missed as one of our key supporters."

Christopher Hitchens is the author of 'The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification' and he attended the launch of the third 'edition of the book on 23 May 2008 at Chatham House in London.

Christopher Hitchens felt the opening of the new Acropolis Museum provided the ideal opportunity to re-state the case for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens. When the new Acropolis Museum opened in June 2009, Christopher Hitchens visited and wrote an article, 'The Lovely Stones' which was published in Vanity Fair (July 2009). His concluding sentence reads: "And one day, surely, there will be an agreement to do the right thing by the world's most "right" structure."

He wrote his first article in 1983 on the subject in The Spectator and later went on to publish his book 'The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification' in 1987. In the book Hitchen insists the Greeks have a "natural right" to the sculptures, and that they belong on the hill of the Acropolis "in that light, in that air. Pentelic marble does not occur in the UK".

Members of Parliament

Early Day Motions

This is the full text of the Early Day Motion tabled at the House of Commons by Eddie O'Hara MP, dated 19.1.1999.


Mr. Edward O'Hara
Tom Cox
Sir Teddy Taylor
Mr. Nick Harvey
Mr. Michael Clapham
Mr. Joe Benton

That this House notes that a recent MORI opinion poll found a substantial majority in favour of returning the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, and that a previous opinion poll organised by Channel 4 Television showed over 90 per cent. in favour; believes that the Parthenon and its sculptures form an artistic unity; notes that UNESCO has declared the Parthenon a world cultural heritage site and supports the return of the of the sculptures; observes that the Parthenon Sculptures were removed by Lord Elgin from Athens under terms and conditions which raise questions about his legal title to their ownership and therefore that of any subsequent purchaser; is concerned at the damage done to the sculptures in the British Museum, and is confident that the new museum in Athens will be adequate for their safekeeping; questions whether more visitors would see the sculptures in the British Museum than in Athens; is aware of the fear that the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures would set a pecedent for the dismantling of all the great museum collections but believes that this would be averted if the sculptures were returned to Greece as a gesture of goodwill; believes that such a gesture would bring credit to the UK, and that the millenium would offer an opportunity for such a gesture, or, if that is too soon, the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to enter into discussions with Greece on the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures.

This is the full text of a previous Early Day Motion tabled at the House of Commons on 19.6.96.
That this House congratulates Channel 4 on the quality and success of its recent Fifteen-to-One special programme about the Elgin Marbles; notes that in a subsequent telephone poll 92.5% out of 100,000 respondents voted in favour of the return of the marbles to Greece; considers that though there may have been plausible arguments in the past for the retention that the case for their return is now transcendent; and therefore calls upon Her Majesty's Government to enter forthwith into immediate negotiations for this purpose with the government of Greece.
Signed by
Over 100 Members of Parliament
19 June 1996

Channel 4

WITHOUT WALLS: a Fifteen-To-One Special on The Elgin Marbles, shown on Channel 4 television on 16 April 1996.

The prime mover and presenter of this programme, William G. Stewart, put a proposition to his audience and secured the agreement of the President of Greece to the acceptability of its terms.

The proposal

  • That the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Athens -- but not yet.
  • The year 2001 will the 200th anniversary of the year in which the Marbles left Athens. It will also be the first year of the new century. Nations across the world are looking for imaginative ways in which to celebrate the millennium -- exhibitions, celebrations, and exchanges and gestures of friendship between nations and people. Britain's return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece would be an imaginative gesture to the whole world. It would be a gesture admired and applauded around the world.
  • The return should not be seen as a general package of cultural returns and exchanges. The Elgin Marbles are a very special case and their restoration to Athens should be a bilateral agreement between the UK and Greece.

There would be conditions:

  • The Marbles would not go back to Athens unless and until the new Acropolis Museum is complete and ready to receive them.
  • All costs for the return of the Marbles, and for a complete set of copies of the Marbles to remain in London, should be met by Greece.
  • Greece acknowledges that its claim is for the Marbles that once adorned the Parthenon, and the Caryatid and Column from the Erectheum only, and that it has no other claims for the return of ancient artefacts presently in any other museum or collection in the United Kingdom.

Viewers were invited to vote on this proposition. 99,340 people rang to register their votes. 91,822 supported the proposal for the return of the Marbles. 7518 voted against. This means 92.5% voted in favour of the return.

The result confirms the trend of all previous polls while showing an outstanding increase in British support for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.

All information on this page supplied by the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.

Return to Home Page