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

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

Jan
26
Sat
10:00 am Somewhere Under the Rainbow – A... @ Shrewsbury Quaker Centre
Somewhere Under the Rainbow – A... @ Shrewsbury Quaker Centre
Jan 26 @ 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Somewhere Under the Rainbow -  A Day of Joyful Singing @ Shrewsbury  Quaker Centre
Shrewsbury Clarion Choir and LGBT History Month Shrewsbury are hosting a day of joyful singing. This is the first of it’s kind in Shrewsbury. All songs will be taught by ear and the event is open to anyone regardless of musical experience. The songs will reflect the lives and experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and the workshop ...
Feb
1
Fri
all-day Exhibition – Back in Time @ The Hive
Exhibition – Back in Time @ The Hive
Feb 1 – Feb 28 all-day
Exhibition - Back in Time @ The Hive
Open Tuesdays – Fridays 9.30am – 5pm in the Gallery at he Hive – drop by and check out this growing collection. This year the exhibition will feature new boards including a schools and a transgender board. A fascinating exhibition of Shropshire’s LGBT history, in a National context. No need to register – just turn up! Join us on 1st ...
1:00 pm 1950s Pioneers @ LSE Library
1950s Pioneers @ LSE Library
Feb 1 @ 1:00 pm
Discover ground breaking gay and transgender rights activists of the 1950s who inspired change with Alex Bakker on Christine Jorgensen and Malcolm Martin on Open Door. Free – first come first served. Talks: Transgender Pioneers of the Fifties: a secret history Alex Bakker The fifties of the 20th century can be regarded as a kind of birthplace of modern trans ...
3:30 pm In the Archives: A Glimpse of Ha... @ LSE Library
In the Archives: A Glimpse of Ha... @ LSE Library
Feb 1 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
In the Archives: A Glimpse of Hall-Carpenter @ LSE Library
Discover documents and other material from some of the organisations, such as Stonewall and Open Door, that are discussed in today’s talks in this pop up display. The display will be based on recommendations from the speakers in our Hub day and members of LSE Spectrum. Drop in.
5:30 pm Tower Hamlets LGBT History Month... @ The Reach Community Hub
Tower Hamlets LGBT History Month... @ The Reach Community Hub
Feb 1 @ 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Tower Hamlets LGBT History Month Launch Evening @ The Reach Community Hub
The Metropolitan Police, ELOP and Swan Housing would like to invite you to our LGBT History Month launch evening on Friday 1st February 2019. The evening starts at 18.30, with arrivals, refreshments and pre-event networking from 17.30 onwards. LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights ...
5:45 pm National Portrait Gallery – Teac... @ National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery – Teac... @ National Portrait Gallery
Feb 1 @ 5:45 pm – 8:00 pm
This free seminar for primary and secondary teachers and educators will highlight LGBT stories and sitters in the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection and explore how to bring these narratives into the classroom. Take a queer tour of the collection, hear from guest speakers and discuss with fellow teachers how to use portraiture to explore LGBT identities. Booking essential.
6:30 pm Activist Founders @ Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building
Activist Founders @ Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building
Feb 1 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Activist Founders @ Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building
Discover the stories and people behind some of the first activist groups for LGBT+ rights from the people actually involved in their foundation Followed by a drinks reception 8-9.pm. Talks: Mary McIntosh: Britain’s Leading Feminist 1936-2013 Stuart Feather This talk shows how the medical view of homosexuality was revolutionised by the part McIntosh played as an advisor to the Homosexual ...
7:00 pm Exhibition – The Life and Work o... @ Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
Exhibition – The Life and Work o... @ Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
Feb 1 @ 7:00 pm – Feb 28 @ 5:00 pm
Exhibition - The Life and Work of Samuel Butler @ Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
An exhibition of the life and work of Samuel Butler – artist, author and photographer
Feb
2
Sat
all-day OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunt... @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library
OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunt... @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library
Feb 2 all-day
OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunton Library @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library | England | United Kingdom
Somerset Libraries are very excited to be hosting their first Outing the Past Festival in Taunton Library in February 2019. Our festival programme covers a wide variety of topics and historical periods and hopes to provide ‘something for everyone’. Attendees can expect to journey from Spartan Greece, where we will explore whether the Spartan army was as macho as we ...
4:00 pm Tomorrow’s Great Pageant @ The Place Theatre
Tomorrow’s Great Pageant @ The Place Theatre
Feb 2 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tomorrow's Great Pageant @ The Place Theatre
Are you interested in gender and freedom? Are you part of the LGBTQ+ community? For the launch of LGBTQ+ season at The Place Bedford, join Post Workers Theatre for the launch of their new project, Tomorrow’s Great Pageant. This re-imagining of the iconic Suffrage play A Pageant for Great Women is being re-written for a 21st-century non-binary context. Post Workers ...
7:30 pm We Do Good Disco presents: My Be... @ The Broadway Theatre and Studio
We Do Good Disco presents: My Be... @ The Broadway Theatre and Studio
Feb 2 @ 7:30 pm
We Do Good Disco presents: My Beautiful Film and Disco! @ The Broadway Theatre and Studio
Come and have fun with the We Do Good Disco team on Saturday 2nd of February, as we kick off the LGBTQ+ history month in Lewisham with a film and disco extravaganza. In collaboration with our friends at The Broadway Theatre, we are proud to present an evening of film, fun and dancing, as we take over the Broadway Studio ...

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Feb
2
Sat
all-day OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunt... @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library
OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunt... @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library
Feb 2 all-day
OUTing The Past Festival @ Taunton Library @ The Glass Box @ Taunton Library | England | United Kingdom
Somerset Libraries are very excited to be hosting their first Outing the Past Festival in Taunton Library in February 2019. Our festival programme covers a wide variety of topics and historical periods and hopes to provide ‘something for everyone’. Attendees can expect to journey from Spartan Greece, where we will explore whether the Spartan army was as macho as we ...
Feb
16
Sat
12:00 pm OUTing the Past Festival The Hig... @ The Higgins Bedford
OUTing the Past Festival The Hig... @ The Higgins Bedford
Feb 16 @ 12:00 pm
OUTing the Past Festival The Higgins Bedford Hub @ The Higgins Bedford | England | United Kingdom
The Higgins Bedford is very excited to be hosting its 2nd OUTing the Past Festival as a hub venue. We have a dynamic range of speakers on a wide range of themes on our Festival date of Saturday 16th February. We would like to introduce our speakers and their themes, who are Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler of Living Histories ...
Mar
23
Sat
all-day OUTing the Past Dublin 2019 @ National gallery of Ireland
OUTing the Past Dublin 2019 @ National gallery of Ireland
Mar 23 all-day
OUTing the Past Dublin 2019 @ National gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland is delighted to bring OUTing the Past to Dublin for the first time on the 23rd March 2019. In 2018 we launched LGBTQ+ themed tours of the collection, and we are looking forward to going bigger and bolder with our LGBTQ+ programming in 2019. The Festival offers Gallery visitors a new educational perspective by viewing ...

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