Clare Balding delves into Britain’s gay history in new series

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Clare Balding delves into Britain’s gay history in a free new podcast series launched today.

The broadcasting legend teamed up with the National Trust for the new project, titled Prejudice & Pride.

Launching today, the six-episode podcast series will explore the untold LGBTQ stories at National Trust properties across the country.

In the first episode, Balding and historian E-J Scott explore the history of Kingston Lacy in Dorset.
Clare Balding
The property was once owned by William John Bankes, who built much of the house’s collection, but fled England in 1841 to avoid prosecution for “homosexual indiscretions”.

Clare Balding says: “I’m delighted to present some of the creative, dramatic and surprising stories that have emerged as part of the National Trust’s ‘Prejudice & Pride’ programme.

“I admire hugely the work the Trust has done in preserving our cultural and architectural history, and these places mean so much more when we understand the people who lived and loved in them.

“I think it’s crucial to realise that LGBTQ heritage and LGBTQ people are not a new phenomenon or a passing phase. There have always been people of amazing creativity, generosity and importance who do not conform to gender stereotypes.

“I feel we can get better at embracing difference. Realising the impact of the LGBTQ community as a key part of our British heritage is a step in the right direction.”

The podcasts – to be released weekly – are among the latest series of activities and events announced by the Trust in its year-long ‘Prejudice & Pride’ programme to mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Check out the first episode:

A columnist for the Daily Mail previously urged people to “resign in disgust” from the National Trust over its queer history celebration.

Right-wing columnist James Delingpole lamented that he had already cancelled his National Trust membership so can’t cancel it again.

He wrote: You can only resign in disgust once — or I’d definitely be doing it again over the announcement that the NT plans to stage a special season of LGBT (that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) events.

“Older readers may remember when the National Trust used to concern itself with such fuddy-duddy stuff as preserving Britain’s architectural
heritage. But apparently the LGBT audience is a vital one that it has hitherto neglected.”

The columnist claimed there was a “degree of irony about the Trust’s latest plan”, because one of the leaders of the organisation in the 1930s was “waspish about homosexual behaviour”.

That claim is slightly strange, given what the Daily Mail was busy doing in the 1930s.