Issue 7 . Winter 1999
We're in the Money!We were amazed and delighted to recieve the news that the Ourstory Project has been left a legacy of £18,000. Michael Smith (see obituary) was so inspired by our Gay Girls and Bachelor Boys exhibition at Brighton Library in 1997 that he decided to include us in his will.This will enable us to repay the generous loan from an anonymous Brighton lesbian which made it possible for Just Take Your Frock Off to be published, and will leave us £11,000 in the bank. This could help us to attract some further funding, in our bid to build up enough, eventually, to find permanent premises for the archive. For the time being, the interest will be immensely welcome in easing Ourstory's many years of poverty, and we look forward to many more years of preserving people's memories and bringing you stories, hilarious, tragic and moving, about Brighton's wonderful queer past.
We have just heard that we've been successful in a bid for Health Authority funding for a joint project with Sussex University LGBT Soc to record recollections of the universities' rich lesbian and gay past and present, and to put on an exhibition there.
We are also very grateful for some fabulous recent additions to the archive. These include a fine collection of early 80's ephemera (thank you Collym), two folders of dyke ephemera and Older Lesbian Network Newsletters (thank you Rosie), a pair of purple Doc Martens (thank you Margaret), a bound volume of the Swiss gay magazine Der Kreis for 1962 (thank you John), the T-shirt that Nina wore in Channel 4's Women Like Us (thank you Nina), a Brighton Pride banner (thank you Melita) and much of the archive of the sadly now defunct Brighton Lesbian Line.
We are sad to report the tragic death by suicide of Christina Plunkett who was a great supporter of Ourstory's work. Our thoughts are with her partner Tina Higgins.
Not Exactly England
As we went to press with what seems to have turned into our death and dying issue, we were up-staged by the death of two pivotal figures in queer history: Peter Wildeblood, author of Against the Law, and joint victim in the Montagu-Wildeblood case of 1954; and Quentin Crisp, of dearly loved memory, just a week before his planned appearance at the Gardner Centre.
In a rare visit to Brighton, in 1992, during the filming of Orlando, in which he played Elizabeth I, he revealed to the Argus his affection for the town in his inimitable style:
"Brighton is not exactly England" he said. "I have always felt at home here."
Thank you for your support
We are very grateful for the support of all our Friends, which enables us to go on bringing you stories of Brighton's queer past, and preserving our memories for future generations. Those of you who would still like to share your life-story with us, or who want to make sure that your gay publications, old photos, or other personal items go to a good home, can always contact us through out PO Box address, or though our website.
A small number of copies of Hopeless in Hopesea by Philip A. Bond are available. This amazing document tells the story of a Yorkshireman who came to Brighton in 1960 and found it something less than Shangri-La. Please send us uncrossed postal orders or cheques made payable to Brighton Ourstory Project for £3.50 (postage and packing included).
Two queer survivors of suicide are putting together a book about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicide. We would welcome your stories, obituaries, memorials, remarks and contributions. Please contact Tina or Tom by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at Brighton Ourstory Project.