Queer City Nights

Muriel Belcher & co at The Colony Room Club

In London in March 2017 we hosted a themed programme of talks, debates and performances that explored queer life before the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.

Time travelling soiree with Auntie Maureen & Timberlina

Auntie Maureen and Timberlina invite you to a re-imagining of London's legendary lesbian and gay haunt The Caravan with an extraordinary time travelling soiree of queer storytelling, testimonies and tunes from the past 50 years. This evening will use authentic gramophone music & original documents and letters to tell the story of London’s historic club culture.

Venue: The Caravan @ Freud Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL

Date: Sunday 12 March 2017


'Auntie Sharon' tribute - hosted by Dan Glass

Dan Glass, an award-winning activist, academic, performer and writer, hosts an important and timely discussion to pay tribute to all the queer people in our family trees that went missing or lost their lives before the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. You are invited to bring an image of a queer ancestor to contribute to a collective statue, as part of a ritual of grief and celebration.

The evening will also pay tribute to the groups that helped make partial decriminalisation happen in 1967, including the Homosexual Law Reform Society, the Albany Trust and the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee. It will also honour important activist groups that were formed after the act had passed, such as the Rebel Dykes, Gay Liberation Front, L&G Support the Miners and the Lesbian Avengers. 

Venue: The Caravan @ Freud Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL

Date: Tuesday 14 March 2017

Queer and the State

This talk will delve into previously closed secret police and government files to explore how queer spaces were targeted and spied on in the 1920s and 1930s, enabling you to discover the resilience of the community in response.

Be introduced to some of London’s queer venues from the period; from the orientalist interior of The Caravan, to the African American influenced Shim Sham Club on Wardour Street. The talk will conclude with an exploration of original documents from The National Archives collection, combining government and community perspectives to explore the history of queer spaces.

Venue: The National Archives, Bessant Dr, Kew TW9 4DU

Date: Thursday 16 March 2017


1930s Queer Black London – hosted by Chardine Taylor Stone

In the 1930’s queer African-American creatives visiting London brought the buzz of the Harlem Renaissance with them to Soho’s black bohemian speakeasy the Shim Sham Club. It was a place of black queer liberation in a time of persecution. 

For one night only, cultural producer, writer and activist Chardine Taylor Stone will be “re-opening” The Shim Sham club and hosting an immersive evening of talks, performances and music taking you back to the queer black London of the 1930s.

So get into your Zoot suit with the reet pleats, your fine femme fineries or come as you are (or wish to be)!  

Venue: The Caravan @ Freud Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL

Date: Sunday 19 March 2017


Christopher Green plays Fred Barnes

Award winning writer and performer Christopher Green will be playing Fred Barnes in a new show made in collaboration with Wilton’s Music Hall and BBC Radio 4. Fred Barnes was a queer music hall singer of the 1920s & 30s, best known for his hit ‘The Black Sheep of the Family’, which was full of coded messages about being a social outcast.   In an exclusive sneak peek for the National Trust and The National Archives you can experience the highs and lows of an extraordinary queer life.

Venue: The Caravan @ Freud Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL

Date: Tuesday 21 March


‘1967 and all that’ hosted by Tom Cordell

Acclaimed filmmaker Tom Cordell hosts a debate using film, radio and tv clips to tell the story of how attitudes towards homosexuality changed in post war Britain. Murray Melvin, who starred in 1961 as one of British cinema’s first openly gay characters in of A Taste of Honey, will be on the panel to discuss how film, theatre and popular culture shaped debate around gay identity from the 1940s to the 1967 sexual offences act. 

Venue: The Caravan @ Freud Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL

Date: Sunday 26 March 2017


All events are wheelchair accesible. 

If you have any specific access requirements please contact lse.customerenquiries@nationaltrust.org.ukor call 0344 800 1895.