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Call for contributions to new Pride exhibition

November 22, 20202:51 pmLeave a Comment

Sunday 22 November marks the birthday of Benjamin Britten. As well as being one of the most celebrated British composers of the 20th century, he was also an inspirational contributor to Suffolk’s LGBTQIA+ History – so what better reason to announce the next stage in Suffolk Archives’ Pride in Suffolk’s Past project?

This detailed project, which started in 2019, set out to discover and share the hidden stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Suffolk’s past, while also collecting contemporary stories from this thriving community today.

The next stage in the project will see the new exhibition gallery at The Hold on Ipswich waterfront host a special display from February to April next year. The exhibition will share and publicise these stories and document people’s experiences through this period of monumental societal change towards sexuality and gender identity.

Holly Wright, Heritage Trainee and contributor to the project, said “We have uncovered so many fascinating and moving stories in the archives that show that LGBTQ+ people have always been part of Suffolk’s community. Their stories have historically gone untold, because of legal and social repression, but through our new exhibition we aim to put this right.”

Although notable individuals such as Benjamin Britten are featured, the exhibition will also reflect the experiences of ordinary people, and crucially the LGBTQ+ community in Suffolk today. As a result, the project team are inviting contributions of objects, such as memorabilia from your first Pride parade, or photographs of your wedding day, that could be incorporated into the display. Anyone with personal items that could be exhibited should email

Contemporary stories are also being collected through an online survey, which will feed into the exhibition and help us to create a full archive for the future:

For just a taste of what is to come in February, visitors can explore the initial Pride in Suffolk’s Past online display, which was created in support of Suffolk Pride earlier this year.

Councillor Paul West, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, said: “It is wonderful to see this Sharing Suffolk Stories project progressing to its next stage, demonstrating the positive effect the National Lottery Heritage Fund investment in Suffolk Archives is having on outreach work. I am looking forward to seeing what contemporary contributions are received to complement the stories researchers have already uncovered in the archives.”

This project forms part of Sharing Suffolk Stories, the countywide National Lottery Heritage Fund supported programme of activities which enables communities to discover more about the history of where they live and to share it in new and engaging ways.

Written by Jennie Hutchinson

2 thoughts on “Call for contributions to new Pride exhibition”

  1. Margaret says:

    I was part of the Ipswich Lesbian Group which was founded in 1987 as a social and support group. Initially tried to advertise in EADT but they wouldn’t accept the advert on teligious grounds(!). Luckily a reporter from the paper picked up the story and we had an article in the paper instead (result we said). We organised a demonstration in Ipswich in 1988 against Clause 27/section 28 which was supported a number of other organisations including NALGO (now Unison) and the nascent Suffolk Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. I and number of others from the ILG were part of the first intake of volunteers. As well as providing a telephone help line the Switchboard organised a number of social and fund raising events in the town and also organised participation in the annual Pride march in London. ILG members also used to attend the annual Lesbian Strength march in London. You may already have lots of info about ILG and SGALS but if you’d like to talk about them further please get in touch. I have some memoribilia of SGALS and Pride parades plus a photo of ILG members at Pride which appeared in Gay Times.

    1. Judith Stephenson says:

      Hi Margaret, thank you for getting in touch. I’ve passed your details onto a colleague who I’m sure will be in touch to talk further.

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