LGBT+ History Month: Shining a light on National Lottery funded LGBT+ projects in the UK
24th February 2022
Every year in February, LGBT+ History Month celebrates the accomplishments of the queer community, acknowledges their hard-won rights, and increases visibility of the hurdles that still need to be overcome.
As the month draws to a close, we’re highlighting some of the incredible National Lottery funded projects across the UK that are preserving the history of the LGBT+ community.
National Lottery funded heritage site Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes is best known as the home of the Second World War code breakers. One of the most prominent was Alan Turing, who was arrested for homosexuality in the 1950s.
Alan Turing worked at Bletchley Park from 1939 to 1942 as a cryptanalyst. He played a vital role in cracking the Nazi’s Enigma code, allowing Bletchley Park to supply Allies with vital military intelligence.
Turing was honoured for his codebreaking work with an OBE but was prosecuted for homosexual activity in 1952, which was illegal in the UK at the time.
Turing opted to undergo hormone therapy rather than face prison. He was found dead in his home in 1954 from cyanide poisoning, with an inquest ruling it as suicide.
Turing is remembered to this day as an icon in the LGBT+ community for his revolutionary work and the unfair treatment he experienced as a homosexual man.
The National Lottery granted £4.6 million to Bletchley Park in 2011 to restore some of its most important buildings, including the huts that were the hub of vital codebreaking activity.
Over the past few years, new exhibitions and interactive displays have brought Bletchley’s fascinating story alive for visitors of all ages.
Find out more about Bletchley Park here.
Anne Lister Walking Tour
This National Lottery funded walking tour in Edinburgh celebrates the UK’s ‘first modern lesbian’ Anne Lister, popularised by the BBC drama Gentleman Jack.
Produced during lockdown, this unique walking tour brings Anne Lister’s perspective of Scotland’s capital to life.
Using Anne’s famous diary entries as a guide, tour creator Stef Lauer takes you through her visit to the city in 1828 with her companion Sibella MacLean, a noblewoman from the Isle of Mull.
To get the initial idea off the ground she joined up with quarterly LGBT+ magazine Somewhere EDI and successfully secured a grant from The National Lottery.
This walking tour gives the wider public the chance to discover the life of someone who broke society’s strict rules of what a woman should be at the time.
Anne Lister will return to TV screens in late 2022 for the second series of BBC’s Gentleman Jack, starring Suranne Jones.
Find out more about the Anne Lister walking tour here.
The Troubles I've Seen
This National Lottery funded project tells the stories of the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland during the time when homosexuality was decriminalised, preserving and sharing the memories of the people that lived through it.
Homosexuality was not decriminalised in Northern Ireland until 1982, 15 years after legislation was passed in England and Wales.
Belfast charity HERe NI were awarded a grant by The National Lottery to create and deliver The Troubles I’ve Seen, a two-year project to showcase the stories of those that lived in this period through personal interviews, documentary films, a touring exhibition and talks across Northern Ireland.
Find out more about The Troubles I’ve Seen here.
Lost LGBT Cardiff
Funded by the National Lottery, Lost LGBT Cardiff highlights forgotten venues from the Welsh capital that celebrated and supported the LGBT+ community.
With help from a National Lottery grant, charity Pride Cymru created Lost LGBT Cardiff, a project featuring an interactive map that highlight venues and places of interest to the LGBT+ community that once existed in Cardiff.
This map includes many places created by and for the LGBT community that would have otherwise been lost to time. You can even download a self-guided walking tour on their website to explore Cardiff’s queer history for yourself.
Pride Cymru welcome further information of forgotten LGBT+ venues, either through email to firstname.lastname@example.org or their Lost LGBT Cardiff Facebook page.
More than £30 million goes to good causes from The National Lottery across the country every week, making vital projects like these possible.