Switchboard

Switchboard - the LGBT+ helpline logoAdministrative/Biographical History: Switchboard - the LGBT+ Helpline was established in 1974 as 'London Gay Switchboard', taking its first call on 4 March. The purpose of the organisation was to provide information and advice for the gay and lesbian community. All telephonists were volunteers who self identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. The helpline quickly expanded both in terms of calls received and its remit, although it remained a nominally local, rather than national, helpline for many years. 

Switchboard was a key source of advice for gay men who faced discrimination in all areas of life throughout the 1970s, as well as being at the forefront of AIDS awareness campaigns in the 1980s. 

In January 1986 Switchboard volunteers voted to change the organisation's name to 'London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard' and made concerted attempts to attract more women to the organisation. As the community grew and redefined itself in broader terms, so too did Switchboard, renaming the organisation 'Switchboard - the LGBT+ Helpline' in 2015.

Scope and Content:

 Papers of 'Switchboard - the LGBT+ Helpline', (1974-2015). Including:

  • governance papers of Switchboard including minutes, agendas and planning documents, 1974 2008. 
  • annual reports and accounts of Switchboard, 1975-2004.
  • papers regarding the constitution, rules, charitable status and company registration of Switchboard, 1976-2000.
  • papers regarding volunteer administration and training at Switchboard, 1974-2010. 
  • logs of calls, including medical, emergency and legal calls, received by Switchboard. Also includes summaries of the logs, caller surveys and repeat caller logs, 1974-2004.
  • papers regarding the Switchboard library and information sheets for volunteers providing guidance on how to handle calls, 1975-2006.
  • reports produced by Switchboard regarding calls to the helpline, review of the service and structure of the organisation, 1978-1995.
  • correspondence to Switchboard from those seeking help and advice, 1977-1990. 
  • general correspondence of Switchboard, 1975-2007.
  • papers regarding conferences both hosted and attended by Switchboard, 1975-2005.
  • papers regarding fundraising and fundraising events in aid of Switchboard, 1975-2014.
  • papers regarding the promotion of Switchboard, 1975-2015.
  • photographs of Switchboard volunteers and events, 1975-2010.
  • press releases, internal and external newsletters, and histories of Switchboard, 1975-2004.
  • papers regarding partnerships and proposed partnerships between Switchboard and other organisations, 1975-2011.
  • press cuttings regarding Switchboard the LGBT helpline, 1973-2009.
  • papers of FROGS, Friends of Gay Switchboard, 1981-2002.
  • papers of Dudley Cave, a founding member of Switchboard as well as the Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project, 1939-2010.

Quantity: 111 boxes, 4 roles

Conditions of Access: APPLY TO ARCHIVIST