95A Rye Ln
London SE15 4ST
Celebrating LGBT History Month this exhibition on the history of local LGBTQ+ people and communities delves into the Southwark Archives to uncover a world of queer culture and forgotten stories.
Looking back to the 18th and 19th century we discover key Trans histories in the stories of ‘female husbands’ like James Allen who was born a woman but spent his life living as a man with his wife in Bermondsey. In the gorgeous 1930s photographs of Tooley Street lad Ralph Hall we see a life of domestic happiness with his lover Monty and their love letters written when Ralph was posted off to war.
Into the 1960s we enter a time of glorious pub drag culture followed by the emergence of the gay disco scene pioneered by DJ Tricky Dicky in 1970s Camberwell as well as saucy drag shows and boozy dancing at the fabulous Ship & Whale.
Moving into the 80s, through the amazing work of forgotten local groups like the Southwark Sappho Sisters, Peckham Black Women’s Centre Lesbians, Gay Men In Southwark and the Black Gay & Lesbian Centre we come to understand how Southwark’s LGBTQ+ community confronted key issues of the time, campaigning against Section 28 and fighting for rights that were finally realised in the 1990s and 2000s.
The exhibition has been curated by Chris Scales (Heritage Officer, Southwark Council) with production support from Rina Mushonga. Supported by Southwark LGBT Network.