Nottingham’s connection to Byron forges Greek friendship

Owing to Lord Byron’s connection to Nottingham and a Greek municipality, named after him, a friendship has formed.

Nottingham City Council has announced it will formally enter into a friendship agreement with a municipality in Attiki, Greece, called Vyronas – which means ‘Byron’ in Greek. The council owns and operates Newstead Abbey, Byron’s ancestral home, as a popular heritage venue and it’s hoped that the friendship agreement can help further promote it in an area which also has a strong appreciation for Lord Byron.

On Friday 8th October, there will be two ceremonies – one held at Nottingham City Council’s Council House and one in Vyronas municipality. On the evening of the same day, the colour of the lights on the Council House will be blue and white, to reflect the colours on the Greek flag to celebrate this occasion.

The friendship agreement will focus on Lord Byron as an important personality for both Nottingham citizens as well as the Greek people. Key aims will be to encourage information sharing between the two areas on key cultural events related to Lord Byron and a collaboration in the production of digital assets relating to the history of Newstead Abbey. Further plans may include celebrations for the bicentenary of the death of Lord Byron in 2024, subject to a successful grant or fundraising programme.

The municipality of Vyronas started as a refugee settlement bordering Athens at the outskirts of Hymettus mountain. The neighbourhood was established bearing the name of Byron in April 1924, which marked the centenary of the death of the romantic poet in Messologhi, Greece.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “After the opening of Nottingham Castle and a number of successful exhibitions by our museums department, including the Titus is King T-rex exhibition at Wollaton this summer, it’s great to open more opportunities for cultural work in our city by striking this friendship agreement with Vyronas municipality.”

Nottingham City Council’s Executive Assistant for Planning and Heritage, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, who has led on the arrangements with Vyronas municipality, said: “I am really excited that we will be formalising our friendship and cultural ties with Vyronas municipality in celebration of one of Nottingham’s most important rebellious figures, Lord Byron. Not only was he a world renowned literary figure, he was also a fighter for the liberation struggles of the Italians and the Greeks in the early 19th century.

“I want to thank our Greek counterparts without whom this agreement wouldn’t have been possible, and in particular the Mayor of Vyronas municipality Mr Grigoris Katopodis, as well as the chair of the Byron League for Philhellenism and Culture Mr Panos Trigazis.”

Over the coming weeks, further information about Lord Byron and the Vyronas municipality will be available on the Nottingham City Museums website for those interested to learn more about both the famous poet and this region.  

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