A permanent plaque for York’s LGBT History? Call for ideas


Following LGBT History Month 2017 and the third Rainbow Plaques event, York LGBT History Month, York’s Alternative History, York LGBT Forum and York Civic Trust  are working together to identify Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans histories that can be commemorated with a York Civic Trust permanent plaque.

We are starting this with an open call for ideas. Everyone is welcome to contribute. You can make a suggestion via this websurvey.

Plaques can commemorate people, places, organizations or events. The criteria are:

·      If it is a person, that they are dead and have been influential.

·      If it is a place, organization or event, that it was significant.

However, these criteria are flexible. We’re expecting lots of different types of arguments for why someone might have been influential or why a place, organization or event was significant.

For inspiration:

York Civic Trust plaques

York’s DIY Rainbow Plaques

LGBT linked plaques in London

This is how the process will work. We’d like to invite you to get involved: to generate lots of ideas, to debate and discuss the process, to make a final decision and to get the first plaque up.

June   Open call for ideas
August     Event where the ideas are discussed and a list is prepared for final vote
August                 Vote to determine an order of priorities
September                 Announce the priority list and begin working on first LBGT plaque.

The first plaque will be supported by the York Civic Trust City Enhancement Fund.

Marriage and Freedom: Exploring African British History through connections to York

Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 PM – 10 PM
Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW

Arts and Cultural Heritage Association York and York’s Alternative History, with Heritage Corner, are proud to present MARRIAGE & FREEDOM, a unique programme consisting of two dramatic presentations with extremely rich narratives.

Heritage Corner from Leeds explores the significance of African British history towards the understanding of heritage and diversity in Britain today. Two celebrated couples in African British history are presented. Their stories could not be more different from each other. Both couples are factually documented as visiting York but the main connection is the year 1848, as both tragedy and hope unfold before our eyes.

The first play entitled ‘Oh, Susannah’, features Norwich-born William Darby, AKA Baplo, who is of African descent in a mixed heritage marriage with Susannah, a Brummy. Their joint adventure of Pablo Fanque’s Circus was created in 1840’s Yorkshire and contributes to the golden age of circus in Britain as one of the most popular and well-celebrated circuses of its day.

The second play entitled ‘Meets the Crafts’, we see Ellen and William Craft preparing their daring escape from slavery in America, as told in their best seller ‘A Thousand Miles to Freedom’. Ellen is of mixed heritage, but nearly white, her celebrity status is sealed when in becomes widely known that she dressed in male clothing to escape. William’s talks in Yorkshire are well attended and their cause well supported.

A unique double bill of dual heritage narratives in Victorian Yorkshire.

There will be opportunities for questions, discussion, networking and having a generally great evening out.

Seriously not to be missed!

Bar, music and food provided

Places are free but booking is essential


For booking and further information contact the following: joseph.a.richards@gmail.com // 07729474221

Reflections on Rainbow Plaques Day

Guppys with its celebratory Rainbow Plaque

Guppys with its celebratory Rainbow Plaque

Kit Heyam’s blog post on LGBT History Month has appeared on Notches:(re)marks on the History of sexuality).

Kit says: ‘The appearance of the plaques was important: our design mirrored the iconic blue roundel, with all its legitimating potential, but also visibly signalled the stories’ queerness.’

You can follow our route and the plaques made and ceremoniously stuck up on historypin.


York First World War Dayschool: The Anti-War Perspective – Programme announced


York First World War Dayschool:
The Anti-War Perspective

Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET
10.00am to 4.45pm

The York First World War Day-School will provide an alternative to Government plans for a ‘celebration of the national spirit’; and aims to counter romantic, populist, nationalist propaganda; oppose versions of history which serve to facilitate future wars; and offer explanation in place of commemoration. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, to participate in discussion and to argue.


John Westmoreland……INTRODUCTION
Lindsey German………. The Suffragettes and the War
John Rees……………… Imperialism and the causes of WW1
Cyril Pearce……………. The Anti-War Movement & the Great War
Donny Gluckstein………Revolution and the End of the War
Charlie McGuire………. Ireland & WW1
Chris Fuller…………….. Industrial Unrest, the Labour Movement & the
Steve Cox……………… WW1 in the Middle East & the Legacy
Owen Clayton…………. A Critical Assessment of the War Poets
Paul Davies & Friends…Trench Songs: Commentary & Performance

TICKETS: Solidarity £7.00 Austerity £4.00

Available from:

Or phone Hazel: 07895 849 767

Organised by: York Against the War yorkagainstthewar.org.uk
York’s Alternative History yorkalternativehistory.wordpress.com
Sponsored by: History Workshop Journal and York & District Trades Union Council

Castle Area and Eye of York – a gathering of people and ideas

Castle Area and Eye of York – a gathering of people and ideas
2nd June, 9-3.30pm
Friends Meeting House, Friargate

One of the plaques made for the Write Your Own Plaque Day on 12th May -  focused on trial held of those arrested after 'The Peterloo Massacre' in Manchester.

One of the plaques made for the Write Your Own Plaque Day on 12th May – focused on trial held of those arrested after ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ in Manchester.

What are the histories of the Castle and Eye of York area? How is it used today? How might we like to use the area in the future?

In 2003 the Coppergate II Public Inquiry reported, rejecting a scheme for a second shopping centre in the area that would have including building close to bottom of the mound of Clifford’s Tower. The accompanying statement emphasized the historic environment: ‘The Secretary of State [John Prescott] is concerned that the siting of the development in relation to Clifford’s Tower fails to have sufficient regard to the desirability of preserving the listed building and its setting’.

Co-ordinated by York Civic Trust as part of the York: Living with History project, Peter Brown, Director, York Civic Trust believes 2nd June event offers an opportunity ‘for a community-led project to bring forward general proposals to redesign the spaces around Clifford’s Tower, and to create, at last, a world-class setting for the world-class monuments’.

On 2nd June the aim is to bring together interested people – organizations and members of the public – to explore the histories, uses and possible futures of the area and, by the end of the day, distil down the principles through which any development on the site could take place’.

In advance of the meeting, York: Living with History will be calling for key histories and uses of the site to contributed via an A-Z of the area and for people to share photographs of the area through the ages.

If you would like to attend the meeting, email PeterBrown@yorkcivictrust.co.uk. If you can’t come to the whole day, we’ll have the results of the crowdsourced exhibition and the draft brief available for discussion at Friends Meeting House, 2nd June, 4-6pm and subsequently via this website.

Write Your Own York Plaque – 10th May

Blue plaque question mark

Write Your Own York Plaque
Meet at Friends Meeting House
10th May, 10.30am

What story, person or event in York’s history should be commemorated? What aspects of York’s history and culture are currently missing?

There are over 70 plaques around York commemorating famous people or events. Many have been put up through the citizen action of the York Civic Trust who, over the years, have been proactive in nominating and making the bronze plaques you see around town. And, as York Stories points out, plaques have also also been made by individual local people and families remembering loved ones. On 10th May we aim to share this process of public commemoration with everyone.

We will do this in a playful and do-it-ourselves way through our very smart (removable and safe) cardboard plaques. You could:
• nominate something you think is of enormous political importance currently not commemorated;
• create a plaque commemorating something about daily life of ordinary people in York;
• or write something personal to you or your loved ones.

There are two options for writing your plaque: pre-printed like this one for The Old George Hotel…or completely DIY!

Plaque made for the Stonebow Inquiry event and will be displayed on 10th May too

Plaque made for the Stonebow Inquiry event and will be displayed on 10th May too

Option 1: Write to yorklivingwithhistory@gmail.com by 6th May with proposed text for a plaque and we will get it printed up for you.

Option 2: Come along on 10th May and hand write your own plaque.

We will then go around town putting up each person’s plaque using very safe and easily removable adhesive and ceremoniously photographing it for posterity.

We’ll then post pictures of all the plaques on our website and via facebook and twitter. It might be some are so popular we get a campaign going to get them made for real!

Next Open Meeting 23 April

The next open planning meeting will take place on Wednesday 23 April at 7.00 – 8.30 pm in the Bar Billiards Room at the Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, York.

We will be discussing arrangements for the Public Talk (see post below) at the Priority Street Centre on Wednesday 30 April. Help required please, so volunteer if you can’t be there this week.

There will be an update on plans for the First World War Day School in November and a catch-up on progress with the Living with History project and the successful enquiry day regarding Stonebow House.


The Stonebow Inquiry: Past, Present, Future – 12th April

What is the history of the Stonebow area? Who uses Stonebow House today? How can we make a decision about the future of Stonebow House?

12th April, 11-3pm
Central Methodist Church

Stonebow House - built in 1964 - was designed by Wells, Hickman and Partners, commissioned through an open tender by City of York Council.

Stonebow House – built in 1964 – was designed by Wells, Hickman and Partners, commissioned through an open tender by City of York Council.

In 1955 a new road was created, demolishing the Old George Hotel.
Before that there was Hungate, a densely packed area of housing and workshops.
In 1964 Stonebow House was built.
In it was Carline’s, (possibly) York’s first supermarket, where you could save 2p on a bag of sugar.
In 1992 a venue opened, it became much loved, it was called Fibbers.
And on 7th January 2014, the City of York Council decided to buy the freehold to Stonebow House with the aim of ‘entering negotiations with the long leaseholder on options for the building and sites future’.

Some kind of decision about Stonebow House is coming.

The Stonebow Inquiry will ask three questions:

• How can all of us in York make good decisions about the future of Stonebow House?
• What do we need to know?
• Who needs to be involved?

On the day we will explore these questions by sharing what we’ve learnt so far in the Inquiry through archival research and people sharing their knowledge, stories, memories or photographs:

• What is the pre-Stonebow history of the site?
• What is the history of the building and area since 1964?
• Who used, and uses, the building?

We will then move on to consider how a good decision might be made. How might expanding what counts as an evidence-base help create engaged public debate? How can people who care about the area and the building shape any future decisions?

The event will involve a number of different activities from walking tours around the site to group discussions. At this stage we aren’t trying to make the decision itself. We are trying to think about how a decision might be ultimately made that democratically engages York’s citizens.

To register for your free place: http://thestonebowinquiry.eventbrite.co.uk

Refreshments and lunch provided free of charge.

This event is part of the York: Living with History Inquiry. It is jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council via the ‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ project and the EPSRC Culture and Communities Network+ ‘StoryStorm’ Network.

IPUP lecture tonight: ‘How people like us make history but not in circumstances of our own choosing’

Bu York’s Alternative History’s very own Martin Bashforth… see you down there!

Wed 12 March 6pm, King’s Manor K/133

“Diverse Evil Persons: dialogues with the past through biographies and the textures of space”
Martin Bashforth, Family and Community Historian, & Pat Bashforth, Conceptual Artist
Venue: King’s Manor Lecture Theatre K/133

Family history combines with conceptual art to challenge the façade of a Country House Museum: war, poverty, pilfering and murder.

How people like us make history but not in circumstances of our own choosing.”

Martin and Pat Bashforth

All Welcome