Historic English homes of LGBT heroes Oscar Wilde and Benjamin Britten finally relisted on tours
LGBT heroes in the UK from Oscar Wilde to Benjamin Britten, the grave of Amelia Edwards and even Anne Lister, a woman considered the “first modern lesbian,” are being relisted on historic tours of England after being hidden or neglecting their LGBT identities.
According to The Guardian the new listed status comes after a campaign called Pride of Place to highlight places where major events or people in gay and lesbian history lived or died.
While some buildings have been listed, their status and information is being updated to ensure the LGBT history is included in descriptions. Victorian novelist, women’s rights advocate and Egyptologist Amelia Edwards’s grave in St. Mary’s churchyard, Bristol will be one of the places that will be listed for the first time, however. She earns a new grade II listing.
A few places that have been listed but are being updated include 34 Tite Street in London, the home Oscar Wilde lived with his wife after his 1895 trial for gross indecency. The Red House in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, is the home where Benjamin Britten lived with singer and partner Peter Pears partner. Shibden Hall, near Halifax, was once the home of out lesbian writer and adventurer Anne Lister, who inherited it from her uncle.
Art deco treasure, St Ann’s Court near Chertsey, Surrey, was once the home of Gerald Schlesinger and Christopher Tunnard. The home is frequently described as an example of “queer architecture,” with a master bedroom that could be separated into two so it would seem the two men slept in different rooms.
“Too often, the influence of men and women who helped build our nation has been ignored, underestimated or is simply unknown, because they belonged to minority groups,” said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England.
“Our Pride of Place project is one step on the road to better understanding just what a diverse nation we are, and have been for many centuries. At a time when historic LGBTQ venues are under particular threat, this is an important step.”
Professor Alison Oram, who has lead the research on the project says it’s been a labor of love.
“We’ve had a tremendous response to it from people across the country, who have pinned their favourite LGBTQ heritage places on our crowd-sourced map. It’s been wonderful to meet and discuss the project with many diverse LGBTQ communities,” she said.
She went on to explain that queer heritage is everywhere, “And we hope that Pride of Place will lead to more historic places being publicly valued and protected for their important queer histories.”
Recently, Historic England launched a walking app called Queer Soho, that guides people through alternative lifestyles in the area for the last 130 years.