Online gay archive to be launched

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An online gay database has been set up at the national archives as part of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender history month.

The portal includes documents, party invites and posters relevant to the history of the gay community. Among the artefacts are documents recording Oscar Wilde’s internment into Wandsworth Prison following his 1895 conviction for gross indecency.

It also includes pictures of a1978 campaign for equality poster and a cryptic flyer for the 1930s gay Caravan Club.

Harry Cocks, a lecturer in British history at Birbeck College told the Times: “This was the crime not to be named. Until the 19th century, court records were thrown away. Other sources got buried in the archives.”

The scheme is just a pilot project at the moment between The London Metropolitan Archives and The National Archives. Entries cover only a small group of archives with significant collections. The archives will be updated during 2006 and then formally launched.

It will link Britain’s regional archives and draw out material previously buried in court records and a host of disparate sources.