Pictures of Gay Pride marches in the 1970s, controversial actor and singer Divine and London’s first gay superclub, Bang, are among rarely seen photographs that have just gone on show celebrating LGBT+ History Month in Westminster.
The pictures have just gone on display at Westminster City Council’s council offices in Victoria. The council’s LGBT+ staff network put the public exhibition together drawing on material from the Bishopsgate Institute and Westminster Archives.
The exhibition features the work of Robert Workman, a photographer for Gay News, who recorded the earliest Gay Pride rallies in 1972 until the 1980s and other key moments including the opening of the ‘Gay’s the Word’ bookshop in 1972 and protests against a department store regarding the sacking of a LGBT employee in 1976.
Also featured are pictures of Denis Lemon, former editor of Gay News, who lost a high-profile blasphemy case at the Old Bailey and the Porchester Hall Drag Ball which ran from 1969 to the 1990s, as well as ‘Are you Proud’, a documentary by Ashley Joiner celebrating the Pride movement and some of the landmark achievements of LGBT+ campaigners and activists.
Emerging from the first gay marches in London during the early 1970s, Pride in London has grown to become one of the world’s biggest LGBT+ parades, attracting over 1.5 million visitors into Westminster in 2019.
Cllr Ian Adams, LGBT+ Lead Member for Westminster City Council, said: “Our LGBT+ network has put together a fascinating collection of pictures and records documenting a period of intense social change and activism that started in the UK in the aftermath of New York’s Stonewall riots in 1969.
“The exhibition captures the diversity of our borough and the role Westminster, and Old Compton Street in particular, has played as a focus point for many forms of LGBT+ entertainment, expression and activism over the years.”
The exhibition is free and open to visitors weekdays from 10am-4pm – anyone wanting to see the exhibition should enter City Hall and ask at the front desk in reception. See https://www.westminster.gov.uk/arts-and-culture-events for more details.