LGBT History and Education at London Metropolitan Archives
This year’s LGBT History Month has been a special one for us at London Metropolitan Archives, marking the 10th year of our London Gay History Project, which culminated in our 10th LGBT History, Archives and Culture Conference, Brave New World? (already mentioned on The National Archives’ blog).
LMA’s London Gay History Project doesn’t just end with our conferences however. 2013 will see the launch of our LGBT History Education workshops, which allow young people to use documents from the LMA’s collections to explore themes in LGBT history.
With all of this in mind, I thought this blog would be a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of the LMA’s LGBT history sources…
As has been discussed on this blog before, one of the largest difficulties in researching LGBT history is that before the mid-20th century, the stories of people’s lives are often next to invisible, hidden away in the records of official bodies, using archaic language and usually lacking in detail. This makes researching LGBT history in archives quite a challenge (which is why The National Archives’ Discovery tags are such a good idea!), but I’ve been lucky enough at LMA to have most of the hard graft done already by our community archivist.
One of our most interesting early modern documents is the account of the trial for sodomy of Captain Edward Rigby, which took place in 1698 (LMA reference: MJ/SP/1698/12/024). It tells a fascinating story and paints an unusually vivid picture of homosexual life in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, further context for which I am indebted to historian Rictor Norton.