‘So many stories to tell’: Islington Council launches LGBT archive

Robert Crossman became mayor of Islington in 1986. He was the UK’s first openly gay mayor. He is pic

Robert Crossman became mayor of Islington in 1986. He was the UKs first openly gay mayor. He is pictured with consort Martin McCloghry. Picture: Islington Local History Centre - Credit: Archant

The town hall is documenting Islington’s rich LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) history with a new archive.

A picture from the London Lesbian and Gay centre in Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, taken in the late

A picture from the London Lesbian and Gay centre in Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, taken in the late 1980s. Picture: Islington Local History Centre - Credit: Archant

“Islington’s Pride” has been made possible by a £329,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Islington’s LGBT ties are endless. Britain’s first public gay rights protest took place in Highbury Fields in 1970. Islington South and Finsbury’s Chris Smith was the first openly gay MP in 1984 and Cllr Robert Crossman was the UK’s first openly gay mayor in 1986. One of the UK’s first same-sex marriages took place at the town hall in 2014.

This, and much more, will be celebrated in the archive – with extra focus on telling stories of the borough’s ordinary LGBT people.

Work starts now, and Cllr Kaya-Comer Schwartz, the town hall’s community development leader, said: “There are still many stories to be unearthed. We hope it will result in a greater appreciation of this rich and irrepressible community.”


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