Big Heritage support Chester Pride to launch ‘Pride in the Past’
We are pleased to announce the launch of 'Pride in the Past' - a project partnership between Chester Pride and Big Heritage, with support from Cheshire West & Chester's museum and archive services.
The project explores the LGBT history of Chester and Cheshire in order to build the story of life before and after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Pride in the Past will bring together historical artifacts, archive research and objects from the collections of the Grosvenor Museum and Cheshire County Archives, and bring it together with the contemporary stories, photos and objects collected from anyone who wishes to contribute to the project.
The project begins with a display in Chester Town Hall of historic court files revealing the details of World War Two enigma codebreaker Alan Turing’s convictions for homosexuality. These court records are now held by Cheshire Archive Services and are now on public display for the first time.
Chair of Chester Pride Helen Pickin-Jones said: “These are court files of international significance. Turing is hailed as the pioneer of computer science, but the sad sequence of events that ultimately led to his suicide in 1954 begin right here in these documents. Just a few simple lines of text reveal the appalling treatment of one of our national heroes – a man who happened to be gay, but a man who helped save millions of lives during World War Two and supported the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany.”
The displaying of the court records has met with the approval of LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was at the forefront of the bid to secure Turing’s Royal Pardon.
Peter said: “Congratulations to Chester Pride on working to secure the public display of Alan Turing’s ‘criminal’ records.
“This revelation and exhibition of these previously unknown, hidden documents is an important public service and a great contribution to LGBT history.”
Chester Pride will also lay on a book of commemoration next to the display for the public to share their thoughts and feelings about the issues faced by Turing and the LGBT community, both in the past and today.
Helen added: “By putting these files on public display for the very first time ahead of this year’s Chester Pride festival, we hope to help recognise Alan Turing’s contribution and legacy, to champion and raise awareness of the LGBT community, and to celebrate the diversity of our wonderful city.”