The Suffolk Archives statement on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its services is available to read here.

Pride in Suffolk’s Past

Pride in Suffolk’s Past project has two aims:

  • To explore and share the hidden stories of LGBTQ+ people in Suffolk’s past
  • To collect contemporary stories of Suffolk’s LGBTQ+ community, documenting people’s experiences through a period of monumental societal change towards sexuality and gender identity

An enthusiastic group of volunteer researchers has been delving into the archives to discover stories about the experiences of ordinary people as well as well-known figures, experiences during the 1980’s when AIDS and HIV were propelled into public consciousness, press coverage and the language used to talk about sexuality in the past.

The next stage in the project sees the new exhibition gallery at The Hold on Ipswich Waterfront host a special display from Monday 17 May to Sunday 4 July 2021. The exhibition shares and publicises these stories and documents people’s experiences through this period of monumental societal change towards sexuality and gender identity.

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.

Share your story

Anyone can take part in the Pride in Suffolk’s Past project and help us record contemporary LGBTQ+ stories by completing our online surveyResponses to the survey will help us to create an archive for the future. The survey consists of a series of questions, all of which are optional, followed by the opportunity to upload digital copies of photographs and documents.

Explore some of the stories uncovered so far

Visit our Pride in Suffolk’s Past online display to explore some of the historical stories our researchers have uncovered, alongside some of the contemporary stories which have been shared with us so far.

Touring pop-up display, February 2020

Throughout February 2020, to mark LGBTQ+ History Month, a pop-up display showcasing what our researchers have discovered so far toured around several venues in Suffolk, visiting Sudbury Library, the Museum of East Anglian Life, Sax’cess in Saxmundham, Sam’s Coffee House in Lowestoft, Quay Place in Ipswich, Endeavour House in Ipswich, the University of Suffolk Ipswich Art Gallery, and West Suffolk Hospital. A big thank you to everyone who hosted and helped with the tour!

Pride in Suffolk's Past pop-up display in various locations around Suffolk

Advice and support

If you would like advice or support on LGBTQ+ issues please see our list of local and national services and organisations.

Get in touch

If you would like to get involved or have any questions please contact or watch out for volunteering opportunities on our Volunteer Makers site.

Sharing Suffolk Stories

Pride in Suffolk’s Past is a Sharing Suffolk Stories project, part of a countywide programme of activities to run alongside the development of The Hold, which will engage more people than ever before in Suffolk’s archival heritage.