England Recognizes LGBTQ Historical Sites

Historic England is an organization that provides legal protection to buildings and sites of historic significance.  Last year, the organization added buildings and sites to their registry that showcase “queer history.”  Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England, said that the decision was “part of a deliberate policy of looking at what we protect and commemorate by a listing, to see that it is more representative of society as a whole.”

This year, Historic England announced six buildings and sites that they are preserving for LGBTQ history.

1. Amelia Edward’s Grave Amelia Edwards was a writer, musician and founder of Egyptology in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Bristol.  She lived with her partner, Ellen Braysher, in Weston-super-Mare.  Edwards died of pneumonia in 1892, a few months after Braysher’s death.

2. The Burdett-Coutts Memorial The Burdett-Coutts Memorialat located at St. Pancras Gardens in London, commemorates the Chevalier d’Eon.  The Chevalier d’Eon was sent to Russia as a spy, fought in the Seven Years’ War and was a diplomat that helped negotiated the treaty that ended war between Britain and France. The Chevalier lived the first part of his life as a man, and the last few decades as a woman. This remarkable story has inspired art and plays.

3. 34 Tite Street The house at 34 Tite Street, in the Chelsea neighborhood of London, once housed Oscar Wilde, his wife, Constance Lloyd, and their two children. In 1895, Wilde was put on trial for “gross indecency.” He was convicted of having sex with men and sentenced to two years of hard labor.  The law under which he was convicted was not repealed until 2003. The house, which has a blue plaque outside, is still a private residence.

4. Red House The Red House, located in Aldeburgh, which is a town on the east coast of England, was home to Benjamin Britten and his partner, the tenor Peter Pears. They lived together there from 1957 until Britten’s death in 1976. The house, run by the Britten-Pears Foundation, is open to the public.

5. Shibden Hall Shibden Hall is located in Halifax in West Yorkshire and was the home of Anne Lister. Lister was a landowner who kept diaries.  Part of these diaries were in code to cover up her relationships with women.  She lived in the house for several years with her partner, Ann Walker.

6. St. Ann’s Court St. Ann’s Court, located in Chertsey, which is a suburban town in Surrey.  This house has been called an example of “queer architecture” by Historic England. The house was built between 1936 and 1937 and designed by Geraldd Schlesinger and Christopher Tunnard. The gay couple designed the house in response to laws that made homosexual sex a crime, even in the privacy of one’s home. So the home’s master bedroom could be separated into two, which lead visitors to believe that the two men slept separately.

The United States has also begun to recognize LGBTQ historical sites. President Obama designated the Stonewall Inn as a national monument in June 2016.  The Stonewall Inn was the location of a 1969 police raid and then protest that spear headed the LGBTQ rights movement.

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Same-Sex Love and Desire Throughout the Ages

Same-Sex Love and Desire Throughout the Ages

As a hot topic and mainstream subject matter these days, rarely do we ever think about the LGBT movement as having a much of a history, but it does.  Uncovering and unveiling what has been considered until recent years taboo, author Sue Ferentinos explores the topic through the lens of the nation’s museums and exhibits in her new book, “Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites.”

Rowman.com says, This guide complements efforts to make museums and historic sites more inclusive, so they may tell a richer story for all people. 

Don’t you just love that?

We do!  We absolutely love the spirit with which this book was written because while there’s a lot of people doing a lot of good things in the here and now, Ferentinos takes it a step back and in doing so, a step further.  Her book does the community beautiful justice, encompassing the larger scope by including the past, calling forth recognition and teaching us a new way of seeing how this community has indeed existed whether or not the world acknowledged it before now.

In addition to a discussion of LGBT history exhibits around the country, the book offers an overview of the history of same-sex love and desire in the United States from the colonial period to the present.

We can’t wait read this and hope this book becomes part of the classic collections of bookshelves across America.

More information can be found on the publisher’s website: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780759123748.

Order a copy now and get a discount.  For the month of December, the press (Rowman Littlefield) is offering a 30% discount with the coupon code RLWEB3014.

Here’s what people are saying:

“Timely and well-crafted, Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites is a must-read not only for professionals working with collections in museums, archives, libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions, but also for anyone in the communities they seek to engage. Ferentinos provides a convincing rationale for why LGBT history and interpretation matters, as well as a clear framework for how it can – and should – be shared. Readers will find much to consider, reference, and, perhaps more importantly, apply.”

— Wesley J. Chenault, Curator, “Unspoken Past: Atlanta’s Lesbian and Gay History”

“This groundbreaking work thoughtfully documents seminal projects in the interpretation of LGBT history and also lights a path forward for those committed to a more inclusive approach to public history.”

— Bill Adair, co-author, Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World

“This book has something for everyone interested in history, museums, and historic site interpretation. The historical overview should be required reading for all who think they know the history of the United States. Curators, historic site managers, archivists, and librarians, among others, will discover many ways to challenge any preconceived ideas of the lives documented and interpreted in their collections or at their sites. Equally important, they will find myriad resources to answer their questions in this well-written and provocative volume.”
— Barbara J. Howe, historian and associate professor emerita, West Virginia University



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