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.
Following the lockdown announcement, our Researchers' Service will be closed from the evening of Wednesday 4 November.
We currently expect to reopen on Thursday 3 December, but please do check our website and social media channels for updates, and you can reach us during office hours at email@example.com.
Married in 1950, Chris and Betty Birch have been involved in political, trade union, and LGBTQ+ activism for over 60 years. Sharing similar interests, they were both Communist Party Members and involved with organisations such as the Aid to Spanish Youth Committee. After the death of his friend, Mark Ashton, Chris became involved in forming the Mark Ashton Memorial Trust, which was created to raise money for individuals living with HIV. The archive includes the truncheon taken from the police by Mark Ashton, correspondence, personal scrapbooks, press cuttings, and various other papers relating to the couples activism.