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Return Of The Parthenon Marbles

Published:15 October 2002
Fieldwork:19 - 24 September 2002
Source:British Committee For The Restitution Of The Parthenon Marbles
Keywords:Arts, Museums
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In response to the initial question "if there were a referendum on whether the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece, how would you vote?", Two-fifths of British adults (40%) say they would vote for the Marbles to be returned to Greece and 16% say they would vote to keep them in Britain. However, when asked how they would vote if a number of conditions (see below) were satisfied, the support for the return of the Marbles rises from 40% to 56% and support for keeping them falls from 16% to 7%.

The remaining third (37%) are undecided. This means the total proportion of people who would support the return of the Marbles — in these circumstances — exceeds the number who still support them being kept in Britain by a ratio of 8 to 1.

The conditions were:

  • If the Marbles were given to Greece on a long term loan but Britain would still own them
  • If the Marbles were given to Greece on a long term loan but Britain would continue to own them and have joint care of the Marbles
  • If a new Acropolis Museum was built in Athens
  • If Greece would provide the British Museum with other exhibits
  • If Greece agrees to waive all other claims for the return of material.

Greece has already offered to comply with these conditions.

Other points of note are:

  • Of those people who have visited the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum, almost twice as many support their return than those who support their retention.
  • Over two-fifths (41%) say they had visited the British Museum but only 9% (less than a quarter) said they had visited the Duveen Gallery to see the Parthenon Marbles.
  • More Conservative voters say they would support the return of the Parthenon Marbles than those who support keeping them.

Support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is greater among -

  • Older people (over 35) more than younger people (under 35)
  • The more affluent (ABC1) more than those from less affluent backgrounds
  • Broadsheet newspaper readers more than tabloid newspaper readers
  • Labour and Liberal Democrat voters more than Conservative voters
  • With the exception of those without any formal qualification, more highly educated people than less highly educated people, and
  • Those who are more aware of the debate about the Marbles more than those who are not.

Technical details

Fieldwork dates: 19-24 September 2002. Nationally representative sample of British adults aged 15+ (2,009), data have been weighted to the known population profile. Number of sample points across Britain: 193. Interviews conducted face-to-face in respondents' homes.

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British Committee For The Restitution Of The Parthenon Marbles

British Committee For The Restitution Of The Parthenon Marbles
w: www.parthenonuk.org

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