Five rainbow plaques to be installed across London to mark Pride Month
Author: Sophie Perry
Five new rainbow plaques are set to be unveiled in London to mark Pride Month, ahead of the Pride in London celebrations this weekend.
The new plaques will be placed at locations in Greenwich, Peckham, Westminster, Ladbroke Grove and Haringey to commemorate key people, places and moments in LGBTQ+ history.
Since 2018, the Rainbow Plaques scheme has sought to identify and make visible LGBTQ+ history in local communities up and down the country.
There are currently two Rainbow Plaques already installed in London. One is dedicated to Oscar Wilde at Clapham Junction Station and another to the film My Beautiful Laundrette on Wilcox Road, which were installed in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
London’s newest plaques will be:
- Beautiful Thing, Greenwich: A 1996 come-of-age film which focused on working class communities in south east London. The plaque will be placed at The Greenwich Tavern, marking a key scene which was filmed in the venue.
- Black Lesbian and Gay Centre, Peckham: The centre was a first-of-its-kind in Europe and offered advice, counselling, a helpline and library.
- Jackie Forster, Westminster: Journalist, writer and lesbian rights activist Jackie Forster set up the long-running magazine and social group, Sappho.
- London Lighthouse, Ladbroke Grove: Founded in 1986, the London Lighthouse was a pioneering centre and hospice for people with HIV and AIDS, offering residential and daycare for adults and children. Princess Diana first visited in 1989 and often went unannounced to talk with patients.
- Section 28, Haringey: In 1986, the council set up the Lesbian and Gay Unit, among the first of its kind in the UK. The civic centre became a site of the battle for LGBTQ+ equality.
The decision of where to place the new plaques arose following consultation workshops and discussions featuring more than 100 people, alongside an advisory panel.
The panel includes academic Dr Justin Bengry, performer and artist Fisch, director of Forum + Tessa Havers-Strong, writer and filmmaker Juliet Jacques, chair of Southwark LGBT Network Nathan Lewis, broadcaster DJ Ritu and activist Marc Thompson.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that whilst London is a “beacon of inclusion and diversity” there is still work to do to “ensure that our public spaces fully reflect the many different communities that make up our great city”.
He said: “As we look ahead to our capital’s Pride celebrations this weekend, I’m delighted to announce that five new rainbow plaques will be installed across our capital in honour of significant people, places and moments in LGBTQIA+ history.
“These plaques are a symbol of the enormous contribution that our LGBTQIA+ communities make to all our lives and I hope to see many more installed in the future as we build a fairer, more equal city for everyone.”
Jonathan Harvey, who wrote Beautiful Thing, said: “I am so touched that the film is being commemorated in this way.
“As filmed in that pub on a blazing hot day nearly 30 years ago, little did we know that the film would still be touching people (appropriately) today.”
Dr Helen Deane, the former chair of the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre and Veronica Mckenzie, the director of Under Your Nose – a film about setting up the centre – said: “We are delighted that the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre will receive this recognition.
“Dr Helen Deane was the last Chair and Management Committee member of the BLGC at a time when the centre faced severe funding cuts.
“With the closure of the premises, she moved the helpline to her home to ensure this critical resource continued to serve the community.
“Veronica Mckenzie attended the Friday group, and was involved in early discussions about the need for a dedicated space for the Black community.
“She later documented the journey to establish the first Black Lesbian and Gay Centre in her film Under Your Nose.”
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Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Sophie Perry