LGBTQ+ communities collections guide

Southwark Archives holds the following resources and collections on the histories of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Queer people and culture in Southwark. Please get in touch if you would like more information, or if you have material you would like to donate to the archives. 

Local groups and organisations

  • Southwark LGBT Forum collection including meeting minutes, posters, photographs (2011/6 and 2010/12)
  • Southwark Sappho - newsletter of Southwark Women’s Centre Lesbian group, issues 1993-1994 (RES 306.766)
  • Gay Men in Southwark group, newsletter 1987 (PC 306.766)

Gay and Lesbian rights and services

  • Southwark Council leaflets on services and activities in the borough 1980s onwards including ‘First Ever Day For Lesbians and Gays in Southwark’, Housing Rights, Pride events, Gay and Lesbian reading list at Southwark libraries, LGBT History month, launch of Civil Partnerships etc (PC 306.766)
  • Press cuttings on local LGBTQ issues c1990s-2000s (PC 306.766)

Pride and LGBT History Month

  • Posters and planning ephemera, photographs of Southwark float in Pride parade, 2005-2010 (2011/6)
  • Pam Isherwood Pride Photographic Exhibition 1972-2004 – display produced for Southwark LGBT Network and Forum, 2005-2009 (2011/6)
Kenneth Lowndes in drag as Cinderella, c.1917
Kenneth Lowndes in drag as Cinderella, c.1917 

Drag and performance

  • Poster advertising male-impersonator Vesta Tilley at the South London Palace, 1882 (PC 792.7)
  • Photograph of Mr Hudson and Mr Colmer as the Duke and Duchess of Bermondsey at Bermondsey Carnival, 1900 (RES 791.6)
  • Painting by Winnie Collins of a drag troupe performing on the back streets of Peckham, 1935 (SC 942.16422)
  • Photographs of Kenneth Lowndes and others in drag performing in ‘The Roosters’ concert party, 60th Division, during World War One (RES 356.1)
  • Photograph of drag in ‘The Follies’ concert party c.1916, 47th Division (A52)
  • The Street Entertainers Move On, 1935 painting by Winnie Collins of a drag street troupe performing in the back streets of Peckham. (SC 942.16422)

Oral history

  • Stephen Bourne – historian and co-founder of Southwark Anti-Homophobic Forum. Talks about his experience of homophobic hate crime in Walworth, his upbringing and work for gay community in Southwark
  • Sue Sanders – campaigner and founder of LGBT History Month, member of Southwark LGBT Forum
  • James Gardiner – social historian. Memories of nights at the Union Tavern, Camberwell New Rd and drag queen house in 1970s Lewisham
  • Stuart Feather – GLF historian. Transcript re: Bermondsey Baths in 1960s
  • Mike Watson – worked as DJ at the Ship and Whale, Rotherhithe in 1990s


  • Peter Tatchell – coverage of the 1983 by-election including homophobic smear campaign (Bermondsey Labour Party collection)

Trans identities

  • Sarah Paul using alias Samuel Bundy, convicted in 1760 and sent to Southwark Bridewell for marrying a woman, Mary Parlour (PC 306.766)
  • James Allen a ‘female husband’ married to wife Mary for 21 years, worked as a shipwright’s sawyer at Dockhead, died 1829 (PC 306.766)
  • The She/He Barman of Southwark – lyrics of song about Mary Ann Walker alias Thomas who worked at Royal Mortar Tavern in 1867 (PC 306.766)
  • Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton aka Fanny and Stella – famous cross-dressers taken to court in 1871 (PC 306.766)

Venues and spaces

  • Photographs of pubs used as queer venues: The Father Red Cap (P10935), The Ship and Whale (P10388), The Dun Cow (P10483/P10274)
  • The King’s Club – gay club night at the King’s Arms, Peckham Rye, 1980s (2017/32, P14902, PC725.72KIN)
  • Little Frida’s, advertisement for women-only night at East Dulwich Tavern, 1994 (Southwark Sappho)
  • Bermondsey Public Baths, Grange Road – gay cruising space at the Turkish baths c.1920s-1970s (PAM 613.47BER / 306.766 Houlbrook)

Reference books

  • Queer London – Matt Houlbrook, 2005 (306.766)
  • Queers In History – Keith Stern, 2009 (306.7)
  • Fantabulosa: Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang – Paul Baker, 2004 (306.766)
  • Queer City – Peter Ackroyd, 2017 (306.766)

Explore our LGBTQ+ collections gallery online.

Page last updated: 31 March 2022

Privacy settings