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Issue 16 . Spring 2005

Sweet sixteen and out on the razz . Forever on our minds . Adored and accepted . The life and times of Dougie Byng . News in the archive

News in the archive

As ever some wonderful treasures have been given to the Ourstory archive for safe keeping over the last few months. Bob Young brought us original draft documents of five Brighton Gay Community Organisation newsletters from 1984/5, full of hand-written notes and gentle affection. Alec, has lodged with us two bright pink perspex window signs for the Pink Elephant Club and the Minute Books for that and the Variety Club when it was in Middle Street. Alec should be given a Golden Handbag Award for services to lesbians in the 1960s and early '70s for running practically all the gay clubs friendly to women at that time.

Pink Elephant Club sign

Window sign from the Pink Elephant Club, 131, King's Road

Books and vids
We thank Lawrence Latham and the former GLAM (Gay Lesbian Arts and Media) management committee for donating synopses of video interviews recorded for their Before Stonewall project. The tapes themselves have been lodged at the South-East Film and Video Archive, where, in due course, they can be viewed by researchers or groups by appointment. The sound recordings should be available through Brighton History Centre and at the National Sound Archive. We are grateful to Stuart, Colin and Basil for a copy of Neil McKenna's The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde and to Val for Antony Grey's Quest for Justice - Towards Homosexual Emancipation, in which he remembers the campaigns and causes he was involved in, including his prominent role in the Homosexual Law Reform Society and the Albany Trust. Also from Val, Gaia's Guide 1991/2, the Gay to Z Directory of 1994 and two cartoon books: the first issue of Dyke's Delight, 1993 and The Complete Hothead Paisan - Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist by Diane Di Massa, 1999.

Press cuttings
Graeme and Elaine have donated recent press cuttings, safer sex information and venue guides, while Hove Library continues to put their old DIVAs our way. Our grateful thanks go to them all and to Nina and Karen for continuing their trawls of current newspapers. A recent thinning out of the Gay Times photograph collection has yielded a splendid crop of shots from inside local bars and clubs, direct action campaigns and Pride celebrations from the mid '80s to the beginning of this century. Very many thanks to Richard Smith for passing those on to us.

Heaven and Hell

Above and below: Clubbers at Heaven & Hell in Ship Street 1989
Photos: Bill Short

Heaven and Hell

Rooting around
Ourstory has also been rooting around in the archive collections of mainstream organisations. Brighton & Hove City Council Planning Department have generously given us access to their photographs of listed buildings and conservation areas, producing a good stock of bars, clubs and gay landmarks, mainly from the 1970s & '80s. Also from that era, Brighton History Centre has allowed us to copy extracts from the radical alternative newspaper, Brighton Voice, which carried many listings and articles about lesbian, gay and feminist groups in those heady, Liberation days.

Gay Liberation Front
Speaking of which, very many thanks are due to Malcolm Everett for loaning his personal collection of Sussex Gay Liberation Front papers to us to copy. Although the originals will go back to him to keep, he has agreed to amend his will so that one day Ourstory will become their permanent custodian. We hope that others will take a lead from Malcolm in this respect - no one wants to part with things that bring back precious memories, while they're in a position to care for them but it's important to make provision for their future safety. Too much of our history has disappeared at the hands of executors who don't recognise its significance.


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