Bid to bring writer's ashes home

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The Independent Online
AN ATTEMPT is being launched to bring the ashes of one of Britain's most famous literary sons back to his home city from across the Atlantic.

The move to bring home the last remains of DH Lawrence to Nottingham has been prompted by anger among his followers in the UK that the shrine in New Mexico containing his ashes is crumbling. The University of New Mexico, which is responsible for its upkeep, has revealed that it cannot afford to maintain the site.

A spokeswoman, Rachel Maurer, said: "It [the shrine] is in disrepair and that to a certain extent is because it is a case of being out of sight, out of mind. The place where the ashes are is very hard to get to and it is in a remote area.

"This is not meant to be a slur on the author, or the people of England, the fact is New Mexico is a very poor state and the university is not the richest in the United States - our first priority has to be teaching on the main campus."

Visitors to Taos, the small village currently home to the shrine, have noted in the visitors' the book the crumbling state of the memorial to the writer who was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. One recent message states "sorry to see you lain here in such a state."

Such is the concern among civic leaders in Lawrence's home city that they want to bring his ashes back to to be placed inside a new building within the University of Nottingham named the Lawrence Pavilion.

Graham Chapman, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "If they cannot look after the shrine over there then it would be sensible to bring it back here. It would be nice if we could get them back in time for the inauguration of the new pavilion."

Milan Radulovic, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, said: "The ashes should be brought back to their rightful place. This is where he was born and spent his formative years and his major work was from this area ..."

But any move to bring the ashes back to the UK would be against the wishes of Lawrence's wife, Freida - who bequeathed the ashes to the University of New Mexico in 1956 - and any attempts could be tied up in legal red- tape.