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

Sep
26
Wed
7:00 pm WITCiH Presents: The State of Ge... @ The Barge House
WITCiH Presents: The State of Ge... @ The Barge House
Sep 26 @ 7:00 pm – Sep 28 @ 11:00 pm
WITCiH Presents: The State of Gender? @ The Barge House
WITCiH – The State of Gender? is a three-night festival at The Barge House, Dalston from 26th-28th September 2018 celebrating Women, Technology & Creativity WITCiH has commissioned four new music based audiovisual works created by four new up & coming artists, which will receive their world premiere at the festival. Topping the bill each will be a star guest performer ...
Oct
4
Thu
8:30 am Suicide Prevention Awareness Tra... @ Clifford Chance
Suicide Prevention Awareness Tra... @ Clifford Chance
Oct 4 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Suicide Prevention Awareness Training @ Clifford Chance | England | United Kingdom
Every 85 minutes, someone dies from suicide in the UK and the risk is elevated for LGBT adolescents. There were 6,188 suicides in 2015 in the UK, compared with 1,730 deaths by traffic accidents. 31 people drowned in the Thames in 2015, which is double the number of cyclist deaths in London. The location and distinctive infrastructure of the City ...
Oct
6
Sat
all-day QUEER MIGRANT TAKEOVER: DEEPER R... @ Rich Mix
QUEER MIGRANT TAKEOVER: DEEPER R... @ Rich Mix
Oct 6 all-day
QUEER MIGRANT TAKEOVER: DEEPER ROUTES @ Rich Mix
A one-day festival celebrating co-existence, the historical contributions of migrant and refugee artists and contemporary performance makers that are exploring their migrant and queer identities in their art. Deeper Routes is an artistic intervention, a celebration and a space for co-existence of multi-national queers and their allies who resist today’s ‘hostile’ political environment. The festival dives head-first into nuances of ...
Oct
17
Wed
8:00 pm SwanSong @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
SwanSong @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Oct 17 @ 8:00 pm
SwanSong @ Royal Vauxhall Tavern
A gentleman called Joan lands in a subdued, suburban care home like a colourful, combustible cocktail in a new play written and directed by Nathan Evans, starring the leg-endary Lavinia Co-op, David Meyer and Nathanael Campbell. This bittersweet comedy with an opulent operatic soundtrack is staged site-specifically at the RVT as part of And What? Queer Arts Festival then travels ...
Oct
27
Sat
10:00 am Albert Kennedy Create Your Futur... @ Salesforce
Albert Kennedy Create Your Futur... @ Salesforce
Oct 27 @ 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Albert Kennedy Create Your Future Youth Conference @ Salesforce | England | United Kingdom
The Albert Kennedy Trust invites people aged 16-25 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or gender diverse, queer or part of the amazing rainbow community to a one-day national conference. Bringing together young people from across the United Kingdom, you are invited to a series of amazing panels and workshops looking at how we create the futures we want ...
7:30 pm SwanSong @ THE MARLBOROUGH THEATRE
SwanSong @ THE MARLBOROUGH THEATRE
Oct 27 @ 7:30 pm
SwanSong @ THE MARLBOROUGH THEATRE | England | United Kingdom
A gentleman called Joan lands in a subdued, suburban care home like a colourful, combustible cocktail in a new play written and directed by Nathan Evans, starring leg-endary Lavinia Co-op and produced by 89th Productions as part of And What? Queer Arts Festival. A veteran of Gay Lib, Joan dons battle dress, seeking an ally in the young, gay but ...
Nov
14
Wed
all-day Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre
Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre
Nov 14 – Nov 17 all-day
Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre | England | United Kingdom
Nathan Evans takes a comic and poetic look at a pair of botched departures from forty-year unions: the UK’s exit from Europe, bien sûr, and Nathan’s British-born, Brittany-residing, Brexit-supporting father’s departure from the state of matrimony. A brand new solo show marrying the personal and political, spoken word and storytelling, music and film. ‘witty, engaging and inquisitive’ Exeunt In 2002, ...
all-day Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre
Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre
Nov 14 – Nov 17 all-day
Foreign Affairs @ Etcetera Theatre | England | United Kingdom
Britain is bowing out of Europe. Nathan’s British-born, Brittany-residing, Brexit-supporting Dad has closed the curtain on his marriage. Well, sort of. A pair of botched departures from forty-year unions. A metaphor waiting to happen. Part of Voila! Festival 2018. ‘witty, engaging and inquisitive’ Exeunt on Flights of Fancy, Soho Theatre 2017 In 2002, Nathan’s Dad sold his semi in Medway, ...

View Calendar

There are no upcoming events.

View Calendar