Sussex memorial to poet Shelley wins support from former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen

A campaign for a lasting public memorial in Sussex to the poet Shelley is being backed by another leading poet - former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.

The Shelley Memorial Project is launching a £40,000 fundraiser for the memorial with a marathon poetry reading event to take place in Horsham this summer.

Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen said: “Shelley is one of our greatest writers and I support 100 per cent the idea that he should have a memorial to him close to his place of birth.”

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Percy Bysshe Shelley was born at Field Place, Warnham, and is recognised as one of the district’s most famous citizens.

Michael Rosen

Members of the Memorial Project are now looking for volunteers to help with the marathon poety reading event - The Shelleython - and want to hear from anyone, they say, “who loves poetry, performance, fundraising or just taking part in a fun, record-breaking activity.”

The Project aims to commission a public artwork to commemorate Shelley’s life and work and has set itself an initial fundraising target of £40,000 which, members say, will enable the commissioning process and work on the memorial to begin.

Organisers of the Shelleython say it will be a sponsored poetry reading, with participants aiming to complete a reading of all 450 of Shelley’s poems within the course of a weekend.

They say the event will take place in public in a Covid compliant way and via ZOOM.


Project chairman David Hide said: “Shelley is a towering figure in our country’s literary heritage and we believe that his achievements should be properly celebrated in Horsham.

“We are delighted to have endorsement from another great poet for our project. Michael Rosen, the former Children’s Laureate.”

The memorial would be a lasting replacement for the Shelley Fountain - formally known as The Rising Universe - which was first installed in Horsham town centre to commemorate the bicentenary of Shelley’s birth.

The controversial fountain, which suffered frequent break-downs, was sold and removed from the Bishopric in 2016 after being sited near the Lynd Cross pub for 20 years.

Anyone wanting to take part in The Shelleython or find out more should email [email protected] or the project secretary [email protected]

More information about the Shelley Memorial project can be found on the Project’s Facebook page and on the website.