Islington’s LBGT+ archive
Islington has some of richest LGBT+ heritage in Britain. The country’s first-ever gay rights march in Britain, organised by the Gay Liberation Front, took place in Highbury Fields in November 1970. Islington Town Hall hosted the country’s first same-sex wedding on 28 March 2014.
Now, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has awarded £366,400 to the council, Islington residents can learn about some of the lesser-known stories that LGBT+ people have played in the borough’s social, cultural and political history.
The funding pays for a major project to develop an LGBT+ archive of the borough’s extensive LGBT+ history. Highlighting the contributions that Islington’s LGBT+ groups and charities have made in their struggle for recognition and equal rights, the project will also give a voice to the lives of ordinary LGBT+ people of Islington.
It will collect and record artefacts, objects of interest, pictures, photographs, diaries and posters. It will also record oral histories of LGBT+ life as Islington residents struggled to explore their identity and fight for equality in a world that was intolerant and hostile to them. It is hoped this project will help make even greater strides forward towards equality.
The archive will be part of the council’s heritage collection, including items and artefacts relating to playwright Joe Orton and artist Kenneth Halliwell, one of Islington’s best-known gay couples. Read about the Joe Orton 50th anniversary walk here.
The announcement of this grant comes in the year which marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men over the age of 21.