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Lewis Chessmen can only be displayed in the British Museum

The British Museum has responded unfavourably to MP Angus MacNeil’s proposal [1] that the British Museum could open an outpost in the Western Isles to house the Lewis Chessmen.

Scotsman [2]

Thursday, 11th March 2010
Lewis chessmen must stay in British Museum, minister says
Published Date: 11 March 2010
By David Maddox

A PROPOSAL to create a wing of the British Museum on the Isle of Lewis to house the famous chess pieces found there was yesterday rejected by the UK government.

Western Isles Nationalist MP Angus MacNeil put forward the idea as a compromise solution to allow the 78 12th century Lewis chessmen to go home.

He called the debate in Westminster Hall in the Commons yesterday just ahead of a tour by some of the chess pieces from the British Museum around Scotland including to Lewis.

He said the tour provided an ideal opportunity to open discussions on returning the pieces to the island full time.

The debate also saw calls from other MPs for the return of historic items to Staffordshire, Suffolk and Wales. But culture minister Margaret Hodge said: “I disagree with the premise that items can only be appreciated in their national setting.”