With the countdown to Pride in London on 2 July on, Better Bankside has announced its plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary with a poignant exhibition, a new pink triangle and a special walking tour.
Bankside is kicking off its events with the Faces of Bankside exhibition at the popular music and cultural venue, Omeara from Wednesday 29 June. Created by
photographer Eve Milner LRPS – a resident of Bankside herself – the exhibition is dedicated to the diversity and uniqueness of the LGBTQ+ community who work and reside in the area. Those featured in the exhibition have given accounts of the places in Bankside
that are special to them and how they’ve seen things change for the LGBTQ+ community in the area over the last 50 years.
Eve Milner LRPS says of the show:
“As a proud ally of the queer community, it has been an honour to work on this project to create portraits with local people, who I hope feel seen and celebrated.”
The exhibition will run for one month, under the distinctive archways of Omeara, and is free to visit.
Later that week, and coinciding with the Pride in London parade on 2 July, Bankside will be revealing a special commemorative Pink Triangle situated at the
Hope Exchange on Southwark Street, bringing to life the area’s solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Once assigned as a symbol of shame and associated with homophobia and persecution in Nazi Germany, the pink triangle was reclaimed by the gay community in
the 1970s as symbol of liberation and empowerment. Inspired by its poignant meaning and history, Better Bankside has collaborated with The Fandangoe Kid Studios who will be hand painting the artwork on the existing Hope Exchange triangle to create a new public
space that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in Bankside, London and beyond.
Annie from The Fandangoe Kid Studios says of the installation:
“The pink triangle used here in the Hope Exchange, is both a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s strength and unity while reminding us all of the struggle to get here – a nod to a hopeful future, minds open.”
It is believed Bankside’s LGBTQ+ history dates as far back as the 12th Century, when the area became a place of outsiders and experimenters. In
fact, ‘Drag Queens’ are said to have derived from Bankside when, in Elizabethan England, women were forbidden from performing on stage and so female roles were played by men. Those men who became adept at moving round the stage in women’s hooped dresses became
known as ‘queens of the drag’.
Those wanting to learn more about Bankside’s history and institutions that have contributed to wider LGBTQ+ history can find out more by joining a special walking
tour. ‘The Queer History of Bankside’ walk will run on 2 July with popular tour guide Mr Londoner, who will uncover the chaotic and bawdy history of Bankside. You’ll discover what the ‘Liberty of the Clink’ was and how counter-culture figures are remembered
today at the Shrine of the Outcast Dead at the Crossbones graveyard.
Tickets for the walking tours are free but booking is essential. To reserve your spot, visit:
As a pioneering area with a bold and independent spirit, throughout the month of Pride, local businesses will also be celebrating in their own unique way and
Better Bankside aims to support them by shedding light on the events that visitors can come visit and experience.
Better Bankside will also be launching an area-wide Inclusion Network this summer, and is inviting people who work in Bankside from the LGBTQ+ community, other
minoritised groups and allies to help shape its development.
Nicole Gordon, CEO of Better Bankside said:
“Throughout history Bankside has been known as an area where differences are celebrated and so it is extremely important to us that we champion diversity in all its forms. For Pride 2022 we are excited to present the Faces of Bankside exhibition, unveil a
new public art installation featuring the symbolic pink triangle, and launch our area-wide Inclusion Network. There is always more to be done and we are committed to continually looking hard at how we can improve and evolve our programme with a lens on inclusivity.