Queer City project exploring LGBTQ+ heritage now open
Queer City: London Club Culture 1918-1967 opens today with a month of tours, entertainment, talks and performances inspired by documents held by The National Archives.
The Caravan, promoted as London’s ‘most bohemian rendezvous’ before it was raided and closed by police in 1934, has been recreated at Freud Café-Bar, Shaftesbury Avenue, as the focus of the collaborative project with the National Trust.
Visitors will enjoy an immersive experience stepping back into ‘the most unconventional spot in town’ at almost the exact location of the original club which existed at a time when being openly gay frequently led to prosecution and imprisonment.
Evening openings will see a strictly limited number of ticket holders enjoy club ‘membership’ where you can learn ballroom dancing, have a sing-a-long or watch a range of incredible performances from go-go boys on fire to fabulous female imposters.
Along with daytime tours of queer heritage sites around Soho and Covent Garden, this programme of engaging evening events seeks to tell the important story of many similar clandestine LGBTQ+ spaces to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation homosexuality through the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.
Speaking at the launch event at Freud’s, Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives, said:
‘This collaboration with the National Trust really shows how history and heritage can be combined to create an authentic and immersive experience.
‘It also shows how archival materials can underpin the telling of stories of the past, about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.’