Sailors and Sweethearts

Until 16th March, The Drum theatre in Plymouth is playing host to a very special play.  Sailors and Sweethearts is a celebration of the work of local artist Beryl Cook, one of Britain’s best know painters whose paintings concerned themselves with “ordinary people enjoying themselves”. Many of those ordinary folks were inhabitants of the city […]

Oral Histories – Proud to Serve

Capture from the Proud to Serve video

The second of a series of oral histories that we are publishing throughout February 2013 (LGBT History Month) focuses on being gay in the armed services before the ban on gays serving was lifted in 2000. Martyn tells how much he loved his job as a chief in the Royal Navy, he joined at 17 […]

Looking ahead to LGBT History Month 2013 in Plymouth

Over the last several weeks, a great deal of cataloging work has been taking place with the Plymouth LGBT Archive since it was deposited at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. The physical collection can now been searched – either in person or online at – where it is held under the collection […]

In Other Words

The ‘In Other Words’ Bookshop was opened on Mutley Plain in 1982 by Prudence de Villiers and her partner Gay Jones. The shop broke new ground in Plymouth as it became a focal point for Plymouth’s few but determined radical activists. The shop sold a wide range of literature that was generally unavailable in most bookshops at the […]

Proud to Serve

sailor in uniform

In 1999 the European Court of Human Rights overturned the ban of lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces. The European judges declared unanimously that such a bar on entry into the army, navy and air force was illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards an individual’s right to privacy. Prior to this the Ministry […]

Don’t Die of Ignorance

“The 80’s were a particularly bad time to be gay because of HIV/AIDS and because a number of newspapers would have headlines about, you know, sending all gay people to camps and so on”….. You know there were outbursts like that and, you know, you could feel horribly insecure. And, no, it was very, very unpleasant. It was a very […]

Getting Political

Section 28 of the Local Government Act was a piece of legislation that made it an offence for local councils and similar bodies to fund groups who ‘intentionally promoted’ homosexuality in schools and supported notions of homosexuality “as a pretended family relationship.” While no prosecution occurred under the legislation, scores of local authorities not surprisingly […]

Going Underground

Click to see full size scan

Plymouth’s Old Palace Theatre – home in the late 1960s to the Pussycat Club which was managed by one the city’s longest standing gay couples Paul Pollard and Ted Spring. The Palace Theatre became the Dance Academy in 1980’s and hosted ‘BOLTS’ a weekly gay night held on a Monday. In 1956, Section 13 of […]

Susanne Bösche Author – Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin

Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin book cover

Susanne Bösche Author – Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, a photo by Pride in Our Past on Flickr. Danish author Susanne Bösche with Prudence de Villiers at In Other Words bookshop in Plymouth. Susanne Bösche wrote ‘Jenny Lives with Eric and Marin’ which was published in Danish in 1981 and in English in 1983. […]

Mr Harrys – Robert Lenkiewicz -1983

Mr Harrys – Robert Lenkiewicz -1983, a photo by Pride in Our Past on Flickr. Mr Harry’s was a famous gay club in Plymouth. Local artist Robert Lenkiewicz captured some of the regulars in this painting completed in 1983.

In Other Words Book Shop Plymouth

In Other Words Book Shop Plymouth, a photo by Pride in Our Past on Flickr. In Other Words Bookshop which opened on Mutley Plain in 1982 by Prudence de Villiers and her partner Gay Jones, broke new ground in Plymouth when it opened by selling a wide range of literature including anti-war, environmental and gay […]

In Other Words – Clause-28 Window Display 1988

In Other Words – Clause-28 Window Display 1988, a photo by Pride in Our Past on Flickr. In Other Words Window Display 1988 raising awareness of ‘Clause 28‘  or Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 that caused the controversial addition of Section 2A to the Local Government Act 1986 (affecting England, Wales and […]

LGBT History and Pride Timeline 1942 – 2007

This time line compiled by Mark Ayres was first displayed at Plymouth Pride Event 2007. The content of this publication has been collected from various public sources and may require verification.