Voices For Heritage

About the project

Since 2017, our LGBT+ youth groups have been taking part in a Heritage Lottery funded LGBT+ history project. Our young people have interviewed older LGBT+ people about their experiences of growing up in a society very different to the one we live in now. They have also visited archives researching historic documents to uncover ‘hidden histories’ of LGBT+ people who lived in Hampshire.

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LGBT+ historical documents are often difficult to find as they may not explicitly use LGBT+ references or may use other words and phrases to describe LGBT+ people or their actions. Also, many LGBT+ documents were never archived because they were destroyed so that they did not incriminate the author. 

Despite this challenge, our young people travelled to archives to find evidence of LGBT+ life in Hampshire. We discovered many fascinating stories, including gender reassignment surgery and medical transition in the 1940s. We also found George Cecil Ives, an important 19th and 20th century campaigner for the legalisation of same sex relationships, who grew up at Bentworth Hall near Alton. Read more about him here

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies supported our project by holding workshops for our young people, where they learnt about oral histories, how they can capture narratives that may not be written down, and how to conduct a successful interview.

Our young people were then paired up with an older LGBT+ person who they interviewed about their experiences and their views on more modern aspects of LGBT+ life and how they differ to what they knew growing up. These interviews were recorded and have now been deposited in the Hampshire Archives.

Some of our young people were also inspired by the project and decided to make an educational film, to be used as a resource in schools and colleges, about their experiences of being transgender. This was planned, filmed by, starred, and edited by our young people.

“The interviews and artefacts we have collected over the course of the last few months will be seen by our children and our children’s children. They’ll be accessed by anyone interested in our history, and here they can acknowledge and honour the likes of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, and other voices for change within the Hampshire county. Without those who came before us we would not have the laws implemented and the freedom we do now, which is why the Voices for Heritage Project was profoundly important.” – Interviewer