'Never gonna dance again': memorials to lost, legendary nights out

Sutton House Queered launch event February 2017

Sutton House is hosting a one day symposium on 20th September discussing the vanishing LGBTQ community spaces, nightclubs and bars around London, inspired by the Save Sutton House Campaign. We're inviting proposals for papers from activists, academics and LGBTQ community members.

Sutton House Queered
Built in 1535 by Tudor Statesman Ralph Sadlier, Sutton House is the oldest domestic building in Hackney. Throughout its almost 500 year history, the house has been a boys’ school, a girls’ school, a church institute, offices, and a squat. The house is now owned by the National Trust, and has a strong focus on working with the local community. Sutton House was the first National Trust property to celebrate LGBT History Month, and the first to introduce a gender neutral toilet. Sutton House Queered is a year- long programme that aims to question and disrupt, to challenge and celebrate. Much like Sutton House’s varied and colourful history, Queer is fluid and ever-changing, and presents a great opportunity for us to explore the National Trust’s Prejudice and Pride theme, marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.


Call for papers
In 1987 a group of local campaigners formed the Save Sutton House Campaign in response to the proposal by developers to convert Sutton House into luxury apartments. They held the first open day event here in December 1987 and eventually prevailed in their attempts, and the National Trust halted conversations with developers and worked with Save Sutton House campaigners, architects and conservation experts to restore the house, which eventually opened to the public in 1994.

Similar battles are faced 30 years on, as many LGBTQ community venues face closure. Many are not as fortunate as Sutton House, and gallant efforts by community members to protect and conserve these important heritage spaces are unable to match the resources behind soulless London developers.

We are looking for 20 minute papers around (but not limited to) the themes of:

  • Vanishing LGBTQ community spaces
  • The changing face of Queer nightlife
  • Community activism to save LGBTQ spaces
  • The intersection of built heritage and cultural heritage
  • Collecting and preserving memories of LGBTQ nightlife
  • Preserving the memory of lost LGBTQ spaces

Please submit proposals as a single Word document, including a 300 word abstract, and a brief biography to Sean.Curran@nationaltrust.org.uk by 5pm 14th July. Successful applicants will be notified by 28th July. One day Symposium will be held at Sutton House on Wednesday 20th September.

Papers will be allotted 20 minutes each, but alternative formats of papers will be considered.

Speakers will be given one free ticket to the event, but will need to cover their own transport and accommodation.