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Bristol's LGBT+ history is on the map and app!

The Radnor Hotel, St Nicholas Street, early 1960s. Bristol's earliest known gay pubAnna Henderson

Press release issued: 7 July 2016

A new project to map Bristol's LGBT+ history launches this Saturday (9th July) at Bristol Pride.

An online map and mobile app will use pictures, oral history recordings, archival documents and personal stories to bring hidden LGBT+ histories to light.

The project was brought together by local LGBT+ history group OutStories Bristol, working with the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and Bristol Record Office, and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The app allows users to explore this history on the move and in the very places referred to on the map. The map can be accessed on OutStories Bristol's own website, where visitors can contribute their own stories. It can also be viewed on Bristol City Council's Know Your Place site, which brings multiple layers of Bristol's diverse history together.

Andrew Foyle, co-chair of Outstories Bristol, said: "We're really excited about the new map and the possibilities it will bring for engagement within LGBT+ communities and beyond. This is all about reclaiming a sense of our past which, on the local stage, has never been written down before. LGBT+ people have been around throughout history, we didn't just appear in the 1960s. In the current political and social climate, establishing these facts will be hugely significant.

"Bristol has never had the resources for an LGBT+ community project on this scale, and we're really grateful for the fantastic work put in by the University of Bristol and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which funded it."

Dr Nate Eisenstadt, from the university's Department of History, said: "We knew about OutStories from the impressive LGBT history work they'd done as part of Revealing Stories at Bristol’s M Shed. They knew about us from the community historical mapping we have been doing with Know Your Bristol. When they suggested an LGBT+ history mapping project, it seemed like a perfect match. We can’t wait for people to see the results."

Mark Small, from Bristol Record Office, said: "We wanted to put Bristol's LGBT+ history in the mainstream – that’s why putting a layer on the Know Your Place Site and depositing the archives that have been collected at Bristol Record Office was so important."

The OutStories and the University's Know Your Bristol team will be at the Bristol Pride festival, showcasing the map on a big screen from their mobile engagement truck parked between Millennium Square and the amphitheatre.

To get the app, search your Google Play or the Apple App Store for "Mapping LGBT Bristol". 

Further information

This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

About OutStories Bristol

OutStories Bristol is a voluntary community history group established in 2008. Its purpose is to gather the stories of lesbian gay bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people living in or associated with Bristol and its surrounds. We cover all periods of history including the present. Key information and a timeline of Bristol’s LGBT+ history are on our website – 

They aim to record the life stories of LGBT+ people and preserve documents and artefacts that tell those stories, in a publicly accessible way. This means donating objects and paperwork to public museums, libraries and archives wherever possible.

OutStories Bristol curated Bristol’s first exhibition of LGBT+ life at M Shed in 2013, made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the co-operation of Bristol Museums and Archives. Their present LGBT+ Mapping project builds on that foundation.

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