Glad to be gay – the Hall-Carpenter Archives at LSE Library

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Glad to be gay – the Hall-Carpenter Archives at LSE Library

Demonstration, with Gay Liberation Front Banner, c1972
LSE Library has been home to the Hall-Carpenter Archives since 1988. It’s an extensive collection of archives, ephemera and printed material documenting the development of gay activism in the UK since the 1950s. But how did it come to LSE and what does it hold?

The origins

The Hall-Carpenter Archives grew out of the campaigning work of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). In 1980 CHE established the Gay Monitoring and Archive Project to monitor cases of discrimination against homosexuals in all parts of life. A media monitoring service was set up including a subscription to the press cuttings service. In addition, CHE members began to send press cuttings and related material on discrimination. The CHE also found itself storing records of gay organisations.

In 1982 the Gay Monitoring and Archive Project separated from CHE and the press cuttings and archives transferred to the flat of one of its founders, Julian Meldrum, and a limited company was set up called the Hall-Carpenter Memorial Archives.

When Greater London Council withdrew its funding in 1986, alternative ways had to be found to secure the archive’s future. It was decided to split the collection into three. The archives, ephemera and printed material went to LSE. The Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive first found a home at Middlesex University and then went to the Bishopsgate Institute. The oral histories went to the British Library Sound Archive.

The name

The collection is named in honour of the novelist Marguerite Radclyffe Hall and the socialist writer Edward Carpenter. Unfortunately, the collection does not hold any papers of these individuals.
GLF Plaque on LSE Campus

Highlights

Decriminalisation of male homosexuality

The papers of the Albany Trust, the Homosexual Law Reform Society, Tony Dyson and Antony Grey record the campaign to decriminalise male homosexuality throughout the 1960s following the Wolfenden Report in 1957. There is correspondence with the Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, and with Lord Arran and Leo Abse who pushed various versions of the Sexual Offences bills through both Houses of Parliament until the Act was passed in July 1967.

The Gay Liberation Front

The Gay Liberation Front began in October 1970 at LSE. It brought a new energy to gay activism. This revolutionary movement took a direct approach, drawing up demands, holding ‘think-ins’, forming consciousness-raising groups, organising demonstrations and street theatre. It had a short life, torn apart by the diverse interests of those involved. In its wake, numerous gay and lesbian groups emerged (eg Joint Council for Gay Teenagers, Gay Activists Alliance, FRIEND [Fellowship for the Relief of the Isolated and Emotionally in Need and Distress]).
Gay Liberation Front Street Theatre

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement encouraged friendship and support amongst gay Christians and maintained links with the church and the gay community. It also actively lobbied the government regarding equality legislation eg on age of consent, section 28.

AIDS and HIV

There are lots of papers relating to AIDS / HIV including Simon Watney, Peter Tatchell and Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

Journals

LGBT journals (newspapers and magazines), 1954-, collected from the UK and the rest of the world, particularly the USA. They include:

  • Attitude
  • Capital Gay
  • Diva
  • G Scene
  • Gay News
  • Gay Times
  • Pink Paper
  • Scotsgay

Disabled Gays Guide, 1985

How to access

Most of the material highlighted here is part of our special collections, which are open to all but must be consulted in our reading room. Find out how to book your place and order material on our access archives and special collections page.

To search, use the LSE archive catalogue typing HCA* into ‘Refno’ field.

Further resources at LSE

The online LSE student newspaper the Beaver shows early coverage of gay liberation activities. For example, details of their first meeting.

Trace journal articles on this topic using LGBT Life with full text. This has a specialist focus and is a good supplement to broader social science and humanities databases such as SocIndex and ISI web of Science.

View some images from these archives on Flickr.

Read Sue Donnelly’s article ‘Coming out in the archives’, Oxford Journals, 2008-2009, for more information about the Hall-Carpenter Archives.

Gillian Murphy appears at:

OUTing the Past: London Hub II on the 11th February
OUTing the Past: Manchester on the 26th February

Feb
1
Wed
all-day Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Bri... @ The Red House
Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Bri... @ The Red House
Feb 1 – Oct 28 all-day
Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Britten's Britain @ The Red House | England | United Kingdom
This exhibition will mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. It will focus on Benjamin Britten and his partner, the tenor Peter Pears, at a time when their relationship was illegal. Key works highlighting their relationship will be featured along with the wider cultural, political and legal situation faced by gay men in the 1950s.
Sep
26
Tue
7:00 pm Bar Wotever 26th September with ... @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Bar Wotever 26th September with ... @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Sep 26 @ 7:00 pm
Bar Wotever 26th September with The Phoenix! @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern | England | United Kingdom
Joining our host, Michael Twaits, is all-round wonder of the cabaret scene The Phoenix (with one of Rhys’ pieces)! We also have resident king Benjamin Butch, Orlando, Bae Sharam, Gareth Edwards and MIcah Nx! ————————– Bar Wotever – Queer Tuesdays at RVT Doors: from 7pm, Show start 8.30pm, ends abt 10.30 Then DJs play until we close at Midnight Entry: ...
Oct
3
Tue
7:00 pm Bar Wotever 3rd October with Doc... @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Bar Wotever 3rd October with Doc... @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Oct 3 @ 7:00 pm
Bar Wotever 3rd October with Doctor Woof @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern  | England | United Kingdom
Bar Wotever favourite and star of X Factor Dr Woof is our host for October! Joining them tonight will be resident performer Katy Jalili, Lianne Hall, Victoria Elizabeth, Dickie Dalliance and Francis Drag King! More acts TBA. ————————– Bar Wotever – Queer Tuesdays at RVT Doors: from 7pm, Show start 8.30pm, ends abt 10.30 Then DJs play until we close ...
Oct
5
Thu
5:30 pm ‘Moonlight’ film screening @ The... @ Room LR1, Arts Building, The University of Birmingham
‘Moonlight’ film screening @ The... @ Room LR1, Arts Building, The University of Birmingham
Oct 5 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
'Moonlight' film screening @ The University of Birmingham @ Room LR1, Arts Building, The University of Birmingham | England | United Kingdom
The University of Birmingham Rainbow Network celebrates Black History Month with the screening of the Oscar-winning film ‘Moonlight’. The film, which was released in 2016, shows the coming-of-age story of an African-American gay man growing up in America.
Oct
6
Fri
all-day Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival @ Old Market Hall Cinema
Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival @ Old Market Hall Cinema
Oct 6 – Oct 8 all-day
Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival @ Old Market Hall Cinema
Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival, in it’s 12th year, screens LGBTQ+ films. There are feature films, documentaries, International & UK short films, Q & A sessions with visiting speakers/directors. This year, we have a lecture: ‘Looking Awry: Bisexual Desires on Screen’, by Jacob Engelburg, a Film Programmer based in Brighton, England where he runs the queer film strand Eyes Wide Open ...
Oct
8
Sun
7:30 am Pink Narcissus @ The Bike Shed Theatre
Pink Narcissus @ The Bike Shed Theatre
Oct 8 @ 7:30 am
Pink Narcissus @ The Bike Shed Theatre | England | United Kingdom
Beacons, Icons and Dykons brings you an evening of performance inspired by and featuring the best moments from Pink Narcissus (James Bidgood, 1971) An American arthouse drama about the erotic reveries of a gay male prostitute in his Manhattan apartment. This is a unique experience in visual fantasy, shot in 8mm film with kitsch interiors with bright, otherworldly lighting and ...
Oct
27
Fri
7:15 pm A Revolution in Sexual Politics @ Hinde Street Methodist Church,
A Revolution in Sexual Politics @ Hinde Street Methodist Church,
Oct 27 @ 7:15 pm
A Revolution in Sexual Politics @ Hinde Street Methodist Church,  | England | United Kingdom
A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the (partial) decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. The programme ranges from Lieder by Schubert and Richard Strauss which have an underground gay slant, through to settings of gay poets Verlaine, Proust, Gertrude Stein, A E Housman, W H Auden and others, and music by Reynaldo Hahn, Samuel Barber, Poulenc, Britten, Noel ...
Nov
3
Fri
7:15 pm Women’s Lives and Loves @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
Women’s Lives and Loves @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
Nov 3 @ 7:15 pm
Women’s Lives and Loves @ Hinde Street Methodist Church | England | United Kingdom
Gemma Summerfield – Soprano, Nigel Foster – Piano Gay Soper – Speaker A performance of Frauenliebe und Leben, Schumann’s iconic cycle of a woman’s life and love, and other songs by women composers, with readings from the diaries and journals of famous and infamous lesbians throughout history, including Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Radclyffe Hall, Anne Lister and others. Sung by ...
Nov
4
Sat
2:00 pm Springs and Roundabouts: Afterno... @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
Springs and Roundabouts: Afterno... @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
Nov 4 @ 2:00 pm
Springs and Roundabouts: Afternoon Tea with Miss Hope Springs @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
A very special milestone for the London Song Festival, as towering blonde glamour-puss, composer – lyricist and ex Vegas nightclub chanteuse Miss Hope Springs brings you songs from her unreleased 1969 LP. She reflects “There are so many circles, spirals and revolutions on the journey of life. I was personally entertaining Fidel Castro when the Cuban one broke out in ...
Nov
5
Sun
8:00 pm The Wiz, Presented by Beacons, I... @ The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter
The Wiz, Presented by Beacons, I... @ The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter
Nov 5 @ 8:00 pm
The Wiz, Presented by Beacons, Icons and Dykons @ The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter
Beacons, Icons and Dykons presents an evening of performance inspired by and featuring the best moments from musical spectacular The Wiz. (Sidney Lumet, 1978) Starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor, the film retells the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz with an African American cast, where the Land of Oz is a fantasy version of New York ...
Nov
6
Mon
all-day LGBT rights: what next? panel di... @ LSE Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
LGBT rights: what next? panel di... @ LSE Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Nov 6 all-day
LGBT rights: what next? panel discussion with Angela Mason, Chris Smith and Peter Tatchell @ LSE Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building | England | United Kingdom
What has been achieved since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act and the partial discrimination of homosexuality? What hurdles still have to be overcome for LGBT rights? Angela Mason, Chris Smith and Peter Tatchell will discuss these questions and answer your questions. Angela Mason is Labour Councillor of Camden Council, and former Director of Stonewall and Chair of the Fawcett Society. ...
Nov
18
Sat
2:00 pm A Jarman Winterreise @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
A Jarman Winterreise @ Hinde Street Methodist Church
Nov 18 @ 2:00 pm
A Jarman Winterreise @ Hinde Street Methodist Church | England | United Kingdom
Simon Wallfisch – Baritone, Nigel Foster – Piano Kevin Moore – Speaker Baritone Simon Wallfisch (“There was an energy and buzz every time Simon Wallfisch was on stage”: Opera Today) and Nigel Foster (piano) perform Schubert’s extraordinary song-cycle Winterreise, interspersed with readings from the diary of Derek Jarman, charting his winter journey from his diagnosis as HIV positive in 1986 ...

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