Archive | LGBT History

Anne Lister returns to Calderdale with Piece Hall Installation

Sunday 26th September 2021
Picture Credit  Charlotte Graham 
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Gentleman Jack star, Suranne Jones unveils a newly-created interpretation of the remarkable person she portrays, Anne Lister, at the stunning Piece Hall in Halifax.

Anne Lister returns to Calderdale with Piece Hall Installation
On 26 September, a landmark sculpture of prominent 19th century diarist, landowner, entrepreneur, scholar, traveller, and lesbian, Anne Lister, was unveiled in The Piece Hall’s 66,000 sq ft open-air piazza. The special unveiling ceremony saw Gentleman Jack star, Suranne Jones, series creator Sally Wainwright OBE and sculptor Diane Lawrenson – three women who have worked hard to bring the remarkable story of Anne Lister to life for contemporary audiences – come together to celebrate Anne’s life. The installation, called ‘Contemplation’, has been made possible thanks to the work of The Piece Hall Trust and is now on permanent display at the iconic Piece Hall.
In a ceremony, watched by hundreds of invited guests and onlookers, the sculpture was unveiled from beneath a traditional piece of cloth – as once traded at The Piece Hall - rounding off a special series of events to mark the 181st anniversary of her passing. 
Anne Lister (1791-1840) often described as ‘the first modern lesbian’, had strong connections to Halifax as a successful female entrepreneur and landowner from the West Yorkshire town. She notably wrote an estimated five million words detailing her life as a landowner and businesswoman and her liaisons with other women, as well as portraying the network of relationships between women of the gentry and aristocracy in early 19th century Halifax and beyond. 
Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, Chief Executive of The Piece Hall Trust, commented:
“This is a story of a woman that still holds such resonance today. It felt right that we, as The Piece Hall Trust, helped enable this remarkable new piece of art, commemorating a woman who continues to have such an impact locally, nationally, and internationally. We wanted to bring Anne’s story to life, by bringing together other extraordinary women who have given their own special interpretation of her life – Diane Lawrenson and Sally Wainwright, together with Jill Liddington and Helena Whitbread. I’m proud that The Piece Hall will pay homage in this way for visitors from around the world to visit and experience. It has been wonderful to have these remarkable women involved to celebrate Anne Lister’s remarkable and brave life.”
Gentleman Jack writer and Piece Hall Patron Sally Wainwright OBE said:
“Anne Lister is a huge inspiration. She is a source of inspiration to me and the fact that Gentleman Jack has resonated with audiences around the world has been very special for me. To be involved in the unveiling today is such a privilege and my thanks go out to Nicky, Sir Roger Marsh, and everyone at The Piece Hall Trust for enabling this; Diane for creating such a beautiful piece of art, and Suranne for helping me to tell Anne Lister’s remarkable story in such a sensitive and powerful way. It’s fantastic that we’re able to honour her legacy in such a beautiful and historical venue that would have been part of her day-to-day life here in Halifax.”
Suranne Jones added:
“What an incredible day! Anne Lister’s story is one that I have been privileged to play a part in telling and the response to Gentlemen Jack from audiences around the world has been astonishing. It’s vitally important that we continue to tell the story of strong women throughout history, whether it’s through our television screens like Gentleman Jack or works like this that will encourage people to delve deeper into her life. Halifax and Calderdale have played an important role in my own life since the first series of Gentleman Jack aired on TV, and I’m delighted that this new installation has a permanent home in such a stunning venue.”
The Piece Hall – a focal point of trade and commerce in Halifax during Lister’s lifetime, which she often referred to in her diaries - was also recently used as a filming location for scenes for the new series of Gentleman Jack, made by BBC/HBO. Visitors can now admire the sculpture, which sits on a stone plinth donated by Halifax-based stone merchants, Marshalls plc, along with other sculptures and art created by Diane Lawrenson now on view in The Piece Hall’s Gallery.

On 26 September, a landmark sculpture of prominent 19th century diarist, landowner, entrepreneur, scholar, traveller, and lesbian, Anne Lister, was unveiled in The Piece Hall’s 66,000 sq ft open-air piazza. The special unveiling ceremony saw Gentleman Jack star, Suranne Jones, series creator Sally Wainwright OBE and sculptor Diane Lawrenson – three women who have worked hard to […]

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THE ‘FASHIONABLE’ ALAN TURING

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REFLECTIONS OF ALAN TURING: A RELATIVE STORY For many, Alan Turing’s story is an inspiration, but given the numerous biographies in circulation what more can we learn about the man? Sir Dermot Turing’s Reflections of Alan Turing explores many topics typically connected to his work – including artificial intelligence, codebreaking, and security – debunking common myths and misconceptions […]

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Queer Heritage South Launches Digital Museum

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Credit: Sally Munt As museums across the country await reopening, Queer Heritage South are thrilled to launch an extensive new Queer Heritage South Digital Museum this month. Queer Heritage South is where LGBTQ+ heritage can be preserved, sourced and celebrated. This is not just a collection of exhibits but a comprehensive LGBTQ+ archive that the […]

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Victim Support

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A Community Challenged

LGBT Body Mind Spirit poster

LGBT+ History Month 2021 In 2020 and 2021, we’ve had the utmost sympathy for the young LGBTQIA+ people, locked down in spaces where their identities are not celebrated. We have lost our social LGBTQIA+ space, which frequently is the only safe space many young people have. But the pandemic is far from the only challenge […]

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LGBT+ History Month 2021

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Sue Sanders: Chair – Schools OUT UK, Professor Emeritus – The Harvey Milk Institute, Cofounder of LGBT+ History Month UK Photography: Nicolas Chinardet – zefrographica LGBT+ History Month is 16 years old, and in February 2021 will – like everything during the current COVID crisis – look somewhat different to previous years’ celebrations. We hope […]

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Home Sweet Body

Valerie Mason John by Cesar Forcadell

Ahead of their appearance The Coast is Queer, Brighton & Hove’s festival of LGBTQ+ literature, public speaker and mindfulness teacher, Valerie Mason-John discusses drugs, recovery, and black identity with Sam Bennett. Photo: Juan Luis Rod Dr Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John joins me on Zoom from Canada. It’s 9am there, they have just finished meditating – of […]

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COVID, Creativity, and Croquembouche Cones

Credit: Tanaka Mhishi

Credit: Tanaka Mhishi Tanaka Mhishi is a poet, playwright and performer who makes issue-based work. With a record of creating pieces which handle ‘tricky’ topics like sexual violence, masculinity, biphobia and race, Tanaka takes a bespoke, whole community approach; helping audiences have vital, difficult conversations one piece of art at a time. Ahead of his […]

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Schools OUT UK, launches a landmark competition to design the LGBT+ History Month Badge for 2022

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Every year since its launch in 2004, LGBT+ History Month raises vital funds for its work to make schools safe and inclusive for everyone through the sale of its iconic annual badge. Each year the design is distinctive, linking to the year’s National Curriculum theme. Until now the design has been created by university design […]

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A New Chapter for Brighton’s Queer Cultural Innovators

Photo: Rosie Powell

Marlborough Productions, the company behind the Marlborough Pub & Theatre’s renowned cultural programme have ceased management of the historic LGBTQ+ Brighton venue. The company will instead, present their internationally recognised performances, parties and community gatherings at venues and spaces in Brighton & Hove. Many events are to be held within the atmospheric surroundings of The […]

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