Running at the Freud Cafe Bar in London from the 2nd to the 26th March, this is a unique collaboration between the National Trust and The National Archives which will recreate ‘London’s most bohemian rendezvous’, The Caravan, a queer friendly members club.
The Caravan was around during a time when being openly gay frequently led to being prosecuted and imprisoned and was raided and closed by police in 1934.
This unique project by the National Trust and The National Archives seeks to tell the story of many similar clandestine LGBTQ spaces in and around Soho. It forms a part of a larger programme which marks the 50th anniversary since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.
In order to re-create the bohemian interior of the underground club a number of Photographs, court reports, police papers and witness statements on The Caravan and other clubs of the era will be used – much of it selected from The National Archives’ extensive collection.
This reconstruction will form the focal point of a month of tours of LGBTQ heritage and queer club culture throughout Covent Garden and Soho.
Joseph Watson, London Creative Director for the National Trust said: “While the project will be an opportunity to celebrate the partial decriminalisation of same sex relationships, it will also confront the realities of those lives that were fettered, destroyed, or worse, by prejudice of that era. It provides a timely reminder of the importance of side-lined cultures to our national heritage.”
This is the latest project from the National Trust follows on from previous projects such as 2015’s Brutal Utopias and 2016’s Edge City: Croydon.
Rowena Hillel, Education and Outreach Officer at The National Archives commented: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the National Trust to tell the story of Soho club culture with a recreation of the bohemian Caravan club so very close to its original location.”
Queer City: London Club Culture 1918-1967 will be on display at the Freud Cafe Bar from the 2nd to the 26th March. For more information or to book tickets for the tour visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/queer-city-london.