Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gospels Will Have to Wait until 2013 for Return Visit; 2010 Visit Put Back for Sacred Manuscripts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gospels Will Have to Wait until 2013 for Return Visit; 2010 Visit Put Back for Sacred Manuscripts

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THE British Library has put back a loan of the Lindisfarne Gospels for three years as they look to support Durham's bid to be crowned City of Culture in 2013.

Library bosses had originally said they would hand back the Gospels for a short loan in 2010, a move which would have seen thousands more tourists flock to Durham and potentially generate massive interest in the county's multi-million pound culture status bid.

Now the Gospels will have to feature as part of Durham's final bid to be the UK's 2013 City of Culture instead of acting as a crowd-drawing build up to the event after Library bosses blocked ongoing attempts to bring the ancient manuscripts home permanently. The illuminated Latin text of the Gospels was produced on Holy Island in Northumbria in the late 7th Century or early 8th Century.

They were created in honour of St Cuthbert, and laid next to his shrine in Durham Cathedral for over 500 years.

Last night John Danby, secretary of the Northumbrian Association, said that any return of the Gospels was welcome news, but warned the campaign was still focused on a long-term return.

He said: "The 2013 date is later than what we would have preferred but it is good that it at least coincides with the final culture bid.

"Obviously we would rather they were housed here before then and stayed here, but any loan has to be welcomed as a chance to build up support for a permanent loan." Last month Gospel images were projected on to Durham Cathedral as part of the Lumiere festival, attracting thousands to the impressive display.

Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods has led calls for the Gospel loan to be a stepping stone towards a permanent return.

Speaking on behalf of North East MPs who have pushed for the return, she said: "We are hopeful the Gospels' return will really boost Durham's bid for the UK City of Culture in 2013. …

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