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What’s Online: Out in the City: Queer Club Culture in London, 1918-1967

‘London’s greatest bohemian rendezvous said to be the most unconventional spot in town.’

Despite the risks involved, the 20th century saw a thriving underground queer community develop.

Our records show a wonderful defiance to live and love despite the law. Using unique archive items, this talk seeks to tell the important story of some of the clandestine LGBTQ+ spaces that were raided and closed by police and the covert methods of communication that had to be relied upon.

The talk explores a number of spaces, from the Caravan Club – known as ‘London’s greatest bohemian rendezvous’ – to the lively Shim Sham Club, so named after the Harlem tap dance.

Through photographs, court reports, witness statements and even tantalising love letters that were never meant for our eyes, this talk provides an insight into these little-known underground venues and the powerful voices of individuals inside them.

The talk was presented by Victoria Iglikowski-Broad, Principal Records Specialist in Diverse Histories, on Friday 18 September 2020.


Transcript to follow.