700 years of LGBT history in Cornwall

Cornwall Pride and Cornwall Record Office have come together in a unique way to celebrate LGBT History Month. Cornwall Pride has donated its archive of photos, videos and documents so that all this material can be preserved for the future as a record of the social and cultural diversity of Cornwall, and available for public consultation and research.

Cornwall Record Office has also staged an exhibition called Setting the Record Straight, which showed material from its collections that illustrates LGBT history in Cornwall over the past 700 years. The earliest material in the exhibition dates back to 1307 and relates to Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall, who was a favourite, and possibly the lover, of King Edward II. ‘Cornwall has a chequered LGBT history,’ said Niamh Downing, learning officer

at the Cornwall Record Office. ‘Public records are often seen to portray a white, male and straight history, but we are probably the only Record Office to be an affiliate member of the Queer Youth Network!’

‘This exhibition highlights how lifestyles have changed, and shows people who are living lives that don’t conform to the norm.’ Cornwall Pride, which hosted its first ever Pride event in 2008, has announced that the 2009 event will take place in Truro on Saturday 8 August. Cornwall Record Office, funded by Cornwall County Council, is hoping to take part in this event. ‘The collections we have don’t necessarily reflect the diversity of

Cornwall or its cultural history,’ said Niamh Downing. ‘That is why we want to reach out to the wider community and to younger people too.’

The Cornwall Pride archive was handed over by Jayne Bridges, deputy chairperson of Cornwall Pride. ‘We are very happy to work with the Record Office to support LGBT History Month and ensure that the social and cultural diversity of Cornwall is captured and preserved for the future.’


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