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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Robbie Griffiths

V&A looks to return Asante treasures to Ghana, putting it at odds with the PM

The V&A Museum

(Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

V&A DIRECTOR Tristram Hunt has put himself at odds with the Government by signalling the museum will give back looted Asante gold treasures to Ghana.

Hunt visited Ghana this summer, meeting officials. He writes in the V&A’s latest annual review that he planning long-term loans of the treasures to begin with. The pieces were seized from the town of Kumasi during a British raid in 1874.

“I visited Ghana to begin conversations about a renewable cultural partnership centred around the V&A collection of Asante court regalia” Hunt said. “We are optimistic that a new partnership model can forge a potential pathway for these important artefacts to be on display in Ghana in the coming years.”

Tristram Hunt / Asante Pectoral disc held by the V&A (Dave Benett / V&A)

A debate in the House of Lords tomorrow will address the National Heritage Act, which museums say hinders their ability to fully return items. Liz Truss said last week she is against returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Professor Dan Hicks of the University of Oxford welcomed Hunt’s move, telling us it is the “beginning of a conversation” among national museums. The British Museum and others also currently own Asante treasures.

‘Cab ride sparked Barbara’s decline’

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell attend the press night after party for

Dame Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell traces her dementia back to a black cab ride gone wrong. The cabbie, star-struck by the EastEnders legend, braked too late and sent her “headfirst into the partition”, Mitchell told a Wimbledon BookFest audience last night. “I always believed that was the very start of Barbara’s ill health,” he said. “She was never quite the same.” Windsor died aged 83 in 2020.

No champagne party for Scholar

EXILED former Treasury boss Tom Scholar had a muted farewell last week. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng sacked Scholar, who was thought to oppose his tax cuts, as permenant secretary before the ill-fated mini-Budget. Scholar gave a short and simple speech to staff before mingling for only 15 minutes. His family were there too, but Kwarteng did not attend. It seems that while the chancellor is fond of a party, Scholar is more reserved.

Malorie Blackman takes on the book banners

Author Malorie Blackman attends the

WRITER Malorie Blackman won the PEN/Pinter Prize for freedom of expression at the British Library last night. She railed against book banning, telling the story of a school librarian who boasted about taking Blackman’s Boys Don’t Cry — a novel about of two brothers, one of whom is gay — off the shelves. “All of our children have a right to see themselves and their lives reflected in literature,” Blackman said.

Bjork gets on the decks in London

STARS Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne sparkled at a film festival screening of new film The Good Nurse at Royal Festival Hall last night. At lunch, The Royal Lancaster Hotel held the Women of the Year Awards, where presenters Sian Williams, Mel Giedroyc and Claire Balding had fun. Later, fashion’s Dame Zandra Rhodes chillaxed at a JCA x Patrick McDowell x MA bash, and musician Björk got on the decks for an hour at AnOther Magazine’s Frieze Week party. Her Moët was topped up keenly by an attendant, we noticed.

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