Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives document the experiences of everyday people, and the extraordinary individuals and organisations who have strived for social, political and cultural change.
Since the archive opened to the public in 1895 it has been steadily growing, with unique collections gifted and loaned to us. Some are London focused, but the lives they preserve and the issues they explore have national and global resonance.
The collections offer both breadth and depth. We have 150,000 books, pamphlets, maps and photographs of London. The Lesbian and Gay News media Archive (LAGNA) alone holds 350,000 press cuttings. The photographic archives over 500,000 images. We have a growing oral-history archive and the collections contain fascinating ephemera, from banners and badges to club flyers and condoms.
This trove of materials is supported by a searchable online catalogue.
Switchboard - the LGBT+ Helpline, was established in 1974 as 'London Gay Switchboard', taking its first call on 4 March. Switchboard was a key source of advice for the community 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. Their archive includes log books, minutes, promotional material and much more.