Prejudice and Pride

Are you aware that this year marks 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality? To mark the occasion, the National Archives and the National Trust will collaborate in recreating the interior of 'The Caravan', a queer-friendly members' club in Soho that was once described as 'London's most bohemian rendezvous'. The club existed at a time when being openly gay frequently led to prosecution and imprisonment. In 1934, it was raided and closed down by police.

National Archives, Interior of the Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934

National Archives, Interior of the Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934

Photographs, court reports, police papers and witness statements will be used to re-create the striking bohemian interior of the underground club. Selected from The National Archives’ extensive collection, these documents provide an important insight into club culture and the everyday prejudices facing the homosexual community at the time. The recreation, entitled Queer City, will take place at the well-known Freud Café-Bar on almost the exact site of the original club. 

It'll form the focus of a series of LGBT+ heritage tours looking at queer culture in Covent Garden and Soho during March. There'll also be themed talks, debates and performances capturing the spirit of The Caravan and wider queer culture.

It's great to see this wonderfully creative response to marking such an important milestone in the development of personal freedom. Why not go and see it for yourself?