People carrying the lead banner of the Lesbian & Gay Pride parade from 1990, at the front of the march.

Pride: The First 25 Years

What better way of celebrating Pride's 50th anniversary than taking a journey through the first 25 years of London's Pride festivals, via the LGBTQ+ Archives here at Bishopsgate Institute.

Pride: 1972 - 1997

Bishopsgate Institute is honoured to hold extensive materials documenting the history of Pride from 1972 onwards, including programmes, badges, t-shirts, press coverage and much more. Presented here are the programme, badge and press reports (from Gay News/Gay Times and Capital Gay) of every Pride Festival from 1972 to 1997. It gives us a fascinating insight into how Pride has changed, grown and developed over the years.

The first official UK Gay Pride rally happened in London on 1 July 1972, with about 2,000 people taking part. The date was deliberately chosen as the nearest Saturday to the third anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. Marches and rallies continued in London every summer up until 1981, when Pride moved to Huddersfield in support of the queer community’s protest against West Yorkshire Police, who were repeatedly raiding the Gemini Club. From 1983 the march became known as ‘Lesbian and Gay Pride’. The 1985 Pride saw representatives from mining groups taking part in the march, in response to the support striking miners had received from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, Lesbians against Pit Closures and other activists. At times of particular struggle, such as during the years when Section 28 was on the law books (1988 onwards), many more people took part, and Pride continued to be both protest and celebration. By the 1990s Pride was taking place over several weeks, with events, concerts and other large gatherings, as well as the march and rally. In 1992, London was selected to hold the first-ever Europride, with attendance estimated at 100,000. For 1996, following a vote by the members of the Pride Trust, the event was renamed ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride’ and became the largest free music festival in Europe.

Contribute your own Pride History to our People's Pride Archive and we'd also love to hear from you if you have any papers, ephemera, badges or artefacts from the festivals over the years.

Be a part of the People's Pride Archive

Share your memories and help us to create the People’s Pride Archive - a collection of your stories and photos from Pride events from the past 50 years.

Share your story here