Saturday, 26 January 2019

National Trust should stop 'privileging heterosexual lives' in family histories at stately homes

The National Trust (NT) should stop emphasising the role of families in the history of stately homes because it ‘privileges heterosexual lives’ according to a National Trust curator. Her comments were reported in the Daily Telegraph (26 January 2019) and have provoked a row over how history is presented. They also highlight the lack of LGBTQ visibility in heritage generally.

This is not the first time LGBTQ issues have been raised in the heritage sector.

In 2017, the National Trust ran a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ campaign, marking 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The campaign caused some controversy when it outed a late country house squire, in a film narrated by Stephen Fry, 48 years after his death.

The debate is timely because it comes on the eve of LGBTQ history month which runs through February.

In recent years heritage organisations such as the National Trust, the V&A, Historic England and others, have made greater efforts to be more inclusive and recognise a wider range of groups who have been marginalised, misrepresented, under-represented or who have been made invisible. This also includes a greater emphasis on widening access and increasing participation.

Lewisham Local History and Archives will be running a series of LGBTQ history themed posts throughout the month. We will bring you information on archives where you can do research, links to guides for finding records and a self-guided tour of the V&A, as well as some family history related links and resources.

To get the best out of the postings, please join us on Facebook.

Recent copies of Newspapers are available in the Information Section, Lewisham Library, Lewisham High Street.

Julie Robinson, Local Studies Librarian.

 @LewishamHistory          #LewishamHistory
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