Mayor James Palmer wants Prime Minister to support bid to bring the Bayeux tapestry to Ely

Bringing the Bayeux tapestry to Ely - and possibly to the cathedral - is being contemplated by Mayor

Bringing the Bayeux tapestry to Ely - and possibly to the cathedral - is being contemplated by Mayor Palmer. Ely artist Ian McKendrick constantly draws inspiration from the cathedral as this recent drawing shows. - Credit: Archant

Mayor James Palmer and his deputy, Councillor Charles Roberts, were debating tonight whether to press the Prime Minister to allow the Bayeux tapestry to go on display in Ely.

“Ely has the strongest case by far,” said Mayor Palmer. “Surely Ely Cathedral is the most stunning legacy of the Norman Conquest?

“The Isle of Ely was one of the last places captured by the Normans with Hereward the Wake putting up valiant resistance.

“But what a gift the cathedral was. It was the death of Edward the Confessor that triggered the events of 1066, and of course King Edward the Confessor was educated in Ely at the King’s School.”

Mayor Palmer said that following the promise by President Macron of France to lend the tapestry to this country, a number of other towns and cities had made their case to host it.

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“London, Colchester, Coventry and Winchester have stated their case,” he said. “But I would argue strongly that the tapestry must come to Ely.”

“My understanding is that if the loan does go ahead it won’t be for a few years but I have a clear view as to where I believe the tapestry should be hosted during its stay in the UK.”

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He said the historical arguments for choosing Ely were considerable “and these form the core of an extremely compelling case for Ely to be chosen to host the tapestry if indeed the loan does take place.

“However, it’s also worth pointing out the fact that Ely is extremely well connected by both road and rail and would be easily accessed from across the country for viewings. Ely is already a tourist centre but hosting the Bayeux tapestry would clearly give the City a huge boost putting it on the map globally.”

Mayor Palmer added: “I will be monitoring developments closely but am minded to at the appropriate time make representations to the Prime Minister on this.”

Cllr Roberts, who is also the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, backed the bid.

“We shouldn’t just assume that the Bayeux tapestry goes to London if indeed it does come to the UK,” he said.

“The Government should be looking further afield. It should be looking for locations outside of London that are easily accessible from across the country and have strong connections to the events of 1066. Clearly Ely has a very strong case.”

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