Tuesday, August 4, 2009

History of Gay Surrey Enters Surrey History Centre

The charity Gay Surrey have deposited their archives with Surrey History Centre in Woking.

Gay Surrey started out as a group of friends in 2005. It has now developed into a charity providing help, support and information in and around the Surrey area. Building on the huge success of the recent local IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) awareness campaign, plans are afoot for the first ever Surrey LGBT History month in February 2010. Volunteers will be researching the archives to uncover aspects of Surrey's gay past and highlight both the life of the gay community in the county and the work of Gay Surrey. Research has already revealed a scandal in the Onslow family in the 18th century and the memoirs of Harry Daley, the lover of E.M Forster, author of A Room with a View and Maurice and a resident of Abinger Hammer.

The Surrey History Centre holds 5 million archives dating back to the C12th and the charity's records are the first of their kind to be deposited in its collection, as Di Stiff, Collections Development Archivist, explains, "As the official custodians of Surrey's history we feel it is important to preserve all areas of the county's written heritage and the records of Gay Surrey are a vital part of this. We want our archive collections to develop in a way that reflects Surrey’s diversity and encourage the public to explore wider aspects of the county’s rich heritage."

The centre welcomes further material relating to the Gay community in Surrey and letters, diaries, poems, stories, personal experiences or film are all ways in which the collections here can be developed to celebrate Surrey's Gay history.

For more information, visit www.gaysurrey.org or www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreyhistorycentre. For information on volunteering to help with LGBT research please contact Di Stiff on 01483 518737 or email: di.stiff@surreycc.gov.uk

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