Manchester Central Library unveils archives tracing city’s LGBT history

Manchester Libraries and The Lesbian and Gay Foundation have joined forces to make LGBT archives publically available at Central Library.

The LGF’s collection of local and national gay and lesbian magazines have now been added to the Archives+ Centre at the newly restored library.

Publications such as The Mancunian Gay, Outnorthwest, Gay Times, Diva and other smaller more grassroot magazines will be accessible for everyone who wishes to read them.

Historical documents and reports about a variety of LGBT issues, including the city’s Pride celebrations, culture issues such as HIV and AIDS can all also be found in the archives.

Heather Williams, Policy & Research Manager at The LGF, said: “We are delighted to be working with Manchester Central Library to make our archives accessible to the public.

“These archives contain valuable records of the development of LGBT rights and changing attitudes in society, and now the people of Manchester will be able to discover and celebrate the history of the North West’s LGBT communities.”

The library already has the Queer Up North Theatre archive, the Allan Horsfall collection and Manchester City Council’s Equalities Team archives.

It is hoped that the LGF archive will allow people to trace the history and development of the LGBT community, the Village and politics in the city from the 1960s until the present day.

Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Rosa Battle, said: “Manchester City Council has a proud history of working with Manchester’s LGBT community and the Central Library’s Archives+ Centre is the perfect place to store, care for and exhibit these important archive materials to the public.”

LGF volunteers are currently working alongside librarians to improve access to the collection by adding to the online catalogue.

Volunteer David Allinson said: “Volunteering on the archive project has changed my life in so many ways. I have met so many wonderful people and I have a positive focus in my life now.

“It’s helped me to give something back to The LGF, who supported me and turned my life around and helped me become the person I am today.”

On Valentine’s Day next year, the first National Festival of LGBT History, ‘Manchester In Love’, will be held at Central Library’s Performance Space.

Ahead of this event, archive opening days will be held in November and January, for those wishing to find out more about researching LGBT history.

For more information, visit

Image courtesy of Michael D Beckwith, with thanks.

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