Byron Society looking to move secluded statue to Hyde Park on 200th anniversary of poet's death

The statue of Lord Byron in Park Lane (Google Maps)
The statue of Lord Byron in Park Lane (Google Maps)

A descendent of Lord Byron has called for the statue of the celebrated poet to be moved from its current secluded spot in Park Lane to be on show in Hyde Park.

The Earl of Lytton, the great-great-great-grandson of the 18th and 19th century wordsmith, has cited a pledge drawn up in 1958 that promises the statue should be on show.

Lord Lytton has backed a call by the Byron Society, which is fundraising to move the statue from its current spot on a traffic island to be on show in Hyde Park.

The bronze statue, designed by Richard Belt, was put in place in Park Lane in 1880 under a plinth donated by the Greek government.

But because of a Park Lane traffic scheme drawn up in the 1960s, it is now isolated on top of a traffic island outside of Hyde Park and is not maintained.

“The statue is almost impossible to see and very few people even know that it is there,” said Robin Byron, who is the 13th Baron Byron and related to the famed George Gordon Byron.

“The Royal Parks have given us an excellent new site up in the north of the park, near the Victoria Gate and close to Kensington Gardens.”

The Earl of Lytton (House of Lords)
The Earl of Lytton (House of Lords)

The Byron Society needs to raise £360,000 to move the statue and is hoping to raise the funds in 2024 which is the bicentenary of Lord Byron’s death.

The matter came up in the House of Lords this week.

"The continuing fascination with his life and works has cemented his status as one of England's greatest poets, and it is absolutely right that his legacy be honoured,” arts minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

"The government fully supports the relocation of Lord Byron's statue into Hyde Park, led by the Byron Society. Once in situ, the statue will become a retained asset of the government."

The discussion then descended into members citing Byron-related puns with Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate quoting: “My Lords, 'to have joy, one must share it'.”

The Department for Culture wants to see the move as soon as possible, according to the Byron Society but planning permission from Westminster City Council still has to be obtained.

“We are hopeful that this will be forthcoming before too long,” the Byron Society added.

“Work will commence as soon as all the planning consents have been obtained and sufficient funds have been raised.”