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George Eliot tribute pictures make fabulous display in the Mayor's Parlour

Published on Tuesday, 11th December 2018

George Eliot Mayor Parlor pics

Next year sees the bicentenary of the birth of Mary Ann Evans, known to the world as George Eliot, one of the most famous and best read of all nineteenth century novelists.

The Nuneaton and Bedworth based George Eliot Fellowship has been promoting George Eliot since 1930. The next twelve months will be very special as they encourage the world, not just Nuneaton and Bedworth, to celebrate the bicentenary.

George Eliot lived her first 21 years at Griff House where her father was the highly respected land agent to the Arbury Estate. When Robert Evans retired to Coventry in 1841 his daughter Mary Ann moved with him as housekeeper until he died in 1849.

Mary Ann eventually moved to London and found fame and considerable fortune as one of the greatest English novelists but her first 30 years in this area provided background, characters and knowledge for her novels, and some of them, like Scenes of Clerical Life, The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner have recognisable descriptions of places and people 150 years after they were written. Coventry provides a lot of background for Middlemarch, often described as the greatest novel in the English language.

The Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth, Councillor Christopher Watkins, is also keen to celebrate the bicentenary across the Borough and he has worked closely with the Fellowship to create a space in the Mayor’s Parlour for a selection of pictures about George Eliot, he said: 

“The pictures make a wonderful display on the Parlour wall, a fitting tribute to our beloved locally born author and a great way to head up the bicentenary of her birth.”

“I encourage people to make an appointment to visit Nuneaton Town Hall to view the display as well as peruse the other artefacts kept in the Mayor’s Parlour which depict the magnificent history of the Borough.”

The twelve pictures have been printed on canvas and paid for by the George Eliot Fellowship as a gift to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council to commemorate the bicentenary in 2019. Information leaflets on George Eliot can also be found in the Parlour.

Fellowship chairman John Burton explained:

“We are grateful to the Mayor for the chance to make a lovely display of material which visitors to the Parlour will appreciate. We will also be providing information leaflets for the Mayor to distribute to his visitors, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Borough Council throughout the bicentenary year.”

John Burton also praised Russell Wadsworth from Godiva Graphix, one of the units at Chilvers Coton Craft Centre, for his part in producing and printing the pictures in the display for the Mayor’s Parlour.

Several events are being planned by The George Eliot Fellowship with preparations for many more underway in association with the Borough Council, the County Council and Coventry City Council. Celebrations will start early in the year, leading up to Mary Ann’s birthday on the 22nd November and beyond.

If you or your organisation would like a Parlour Visit with the Mayor then please send your request to civic.officer@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk and a Parlour visit request form will be sent to you.

Keep an eye out for updates on the George Eliot bicentenary celebrations via our website: www.visitnuneatonandbedworth.co.uk