Queer beyond London

By Matt Cook and Alison Oram

Queer beyond London


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4586-4
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: June 2022
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Sexuality (see also PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality), Humanities / Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000, Humanities / British & Irish history, Oral History, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Modern History, History, Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century


When it comes to queer British history, London has stolen the limelight. But what about the millions of queer lives lived elsewhere? In Queer beyond London, two leading LGBTQ+ historians take you on a journey through four English cites from the sixties to the noughties, exploring the northern post-industrial heartlands and taking in the salty air of the seaside cities of the South. Covering the bohemian, artsy world of Brighton, the semi-hidden queer life of military Plymouth, the lesbian activism of Leeds, and the cutting edge dance and drag scenes of Manchester, they show how local people, places and politics shaped LGBTQ+ life in each city, forging vibrant and distinctive queer cultures of their own. Using pioneering community histories from each place, and including the voices of queer people who have made their lives there, the book tells local stories at the heart of our national history.


'A rich celebration of the everyday LGBTQ stories that have been shaped by - and have helped to shape - modern English urban life. Insightful, inspiring, and completely fascinating.'
Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guests

'Being queer is all about change: longing for it, fighting for it - and surviving it. This brilliantly detailed tour of the last fifty years of LGBTQ+ culture and lives in four great English cities digs down through the layers of history and geography and gets to the real nuts and bolts of our experiences. A real labour of love - and quite an achievement.'
Neil Bartlett, author of Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall and Address Book

'This is a book I didn't know we needed quite so badly! It provides a riveting account of LGBTQ+ people forging new lives, creating new communities, and navigating prejudice and discrimination. It is beautifully written, and a splendid example of how oral history enriches previously untold stories.'
Dr Clare Summerskill, academic, writer and comedian

'This book took me back to my teenage years in Brighton, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and beyond where I sought out the bars where I could belong even though elsewhere we were illegal. A world of laughter, despair, love, openness, belonging and making whoopee.'
Michael Cashman, actor, founder member of Stonewall, and member of the House of Lords

'History should never tell just one story, and this timely book challenges the reader to think beyond a single, London-centric timeline of queer history in England since the 1960s. A 'must-read' for cultural historians, queer or not.'
Jane Traies, author of The Lives of Older Lesbians: Sexuality, Identity and the Life Course, and Now You See Me: Lesbian Life Stories?

'This book tells a fascinating and compelling story. It takes us to places we know and love, and to some we didn't know so much about. It tells local stories, personal stories, human stories. It completes the nation's queer jigsaw. It's a must-read.'
Chris Smith, Britain's first openly gay MP, former cabinet minister, and member of the House of Lords


Introduction by Matt Cook and Alison Oram
Part I: Queer Cities by Matt Cook
1. Britain's Queer Playground: Swings and roundabouts in Brighton
2. Split Scenes in Leeds
3. Gay and civic pride in 'Madchester'
4. Naval Gazing in Plymouth
Part II: Queer Comparisons by Alison Oram
5. Circling Around: Migration and the Queer City
6. Urban Accommodation: Queer Homes, Households and Families
7. Making History, Memories and Community


Professor Matt Cook is a historian based at Birkbeck, University of London. He works mainly on LGBTQ history and his books include London and the Culture of Homosexuality and Queer Domesticities.

Alison Oram is Professor Emerita at Leeds Beckett University where she was based before joining the University of London's Institute of Historical Research as a Senior Research Fellow. She wrote Her Husband was a Woman! and co-edited the landmark Lesbian History Sourcebook.

Together, Alison and Matt wrote the National Trust's first LGBTQ guide book, Prejudice and Pride.

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