Libraries Guide to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) resources

Archive sources at Central Library

To see items from this collection, note the reference number and book an appointment.

Our records - LGBT Employee Group (ref GB127.M744)

The group has been running since April 2003. It has a commitment to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in our work and to offer effective staff support. We hold core group notes, full group notes, annual reports, conference pack, promotional material 2002 to 2006 (restricted, email to request access).

Papers of Margaret Roff (1943 to 1987) - Manchester City Councillor and lesbian rights campaigner (ref GB127.M746)

  • Copy minutes and papers of our Women's Steering Group 1984 to 1985, Lesbian Working Party 1985, and Lesbian sub-Committee 1985 to 1987.
  • Papers relating to our Equal Opportunities Policy and Equal Opportunities 1985 to 1986.
  • Press Release issued by Rusholme Ward Labour Party regarding the withdrawal of Margaret Roff as a Ward Councillor 1986.
  • Letter from Margaret Roff to Larry Whitty regarding discrimination in the Labour Party n.d.
  • Newspaper cuttings etc.

Records of our Chief Executive's Department (ref GB127.M775)

This collection includes the campaign records of our Service Improvement and Inclusion Team, exhibition material and other collected material. A more detailed catalogue is available for this collection on request. The campaign records are on restricted access, email for information.

The bulk of the exhibition material - mostly publicity documents from local gay and lesbian organisations - was collected for two exhibitions hosted by us: 'Lesbian and Gay Campaigns in the Late 80's Ten Years On' (c.1998 and 2000) and 'Repealed! - an exhibition of the history of local campaigns for the repeal of Section 28' (Central Library, 18 Nov to 31 Dec 2003).

Section 28 was the law that banned local authorities from "promoting homosexuality". It was repealed on Tuesday 18 November 2003. The legislation, when it was proposed in 1988, sparked a campaign of protest lead by gay and lesbian groups. Manchester was the scene of large demonstrations against the proposed law and later became a centre of activity for groups campaigning for its repeal. Throughout the 15 years that Section 28 was in place, we consistently fought for its repeal.

We have an online exhibition of photographs and memorabilia, from our collections and from the People's History Museum, that details the history of the campaign in Manchester against Section 28. The archive also includes:

  • Council report on Section 28, Jun to Jul 1988
  • Gay Men open meeting advert at Manchester Gay Centre, 29 Sep
  • Guides to workers in the education service and social services department, May 1992
  • Lesbian and Gay Equality 2000 poster
  • Mardi Gras sponsorship banner, n.d.
  • Manchester City Council banner, n.d.
  • Housing support information leaflet and poster, Aug 2004
  • Out in the Past LGBT Manchester Pride heritage trail leaflet, n.d.
  • New Agenda for Equality for Lesbians and Gay Men conference poster and conference report, Aug 2003
  • Lesbian and Gay Discussion Day report, 2005
  • LGBT History Month poster and leaflets, c.2004
  • Measuring Success progress report, 2007
  • Exceeding Expectations newsletters 2 and 3, 2007
  • Manchester Pride Parade posters, 2005
  • World Aids Day Candlelight Vigil poster, 2006
  • Manchester Gay Guides, 2006 to 2007
  • Manchester City Council Equal Opportunities Policy in Service Provision, n.d.
  • Newsletter on Lesbian consultation, n.d.
  • 'Lesbian? Living in Manchester?' poster
  • 'Proudly campaigning for the Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men' flier
  • World Aids Day flier, 1 Dec 1999
  • Housing Experiences Questionnaire, n.d.
  • 'Say No to Section 28 National Day of Action' fliers, 15 Jul 2000
  • 'Proudly campaigning for the Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men' flier
  • Manchester Lesbian & Gay Mardi Gras Newsletter, 27 to 30 Aug 1999
  • Manchester Lesbian & Gay Mardi Gras headed paper
  • An Audit of Services for Lesbians, Manchester City Council, Dec 1995

Other material includes information relating to Northwest campaign for lesbian and gay equality; The Albert Kennedy Trust; Rochdale Lesbian and Gay Action; North West Lesbian and Gay Coalition and miscellaneous publications or promotional material.

Records of Family and Friends of Lesbian and Gays 1967 to 2002 (ref GB124.G/FFLAG) including records of Manchester Parents Group, correspondence, newspaper cuttings and leaflets.

Papers of Stanley Rowe (ref GB124.G/ROWE/Box 9). Stanley Rowe was a youth worker in Manchester. His papers include booklets published by CHE and various youth work organisations on homosexuality, 1970s.

Papers of Allan Horsfall - founder and secretary of the North Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee (ref GB124.G/HOR). This collection includes correspondence, minutes, newspaper cuttings, 1963 to 1987, and the transcript of a talk given at the Town Hall in July 1987.

Quarter Sessions Court Records

Court files include brief details of cases. Deposition files include defendant and police statements taken in the course of investigating same-sex offences. Files survive for some years for Salford (GB124.A.SQS), Oldham (GB124.A14) and Manchester (GB127.M116/2/5 1875 to 1951, some items restricted access).

City of Manchester Magistrates Court (ref GB127.M117)

Court registers from the 1940s to the 1960s record brief details, sometimes including places, of same-sex offences.

Prison and Felony Registers (ref GB127.M600)

Prison registers for New Bailey and Strangeways prisons dating from mid-late 19th century contain details of same-sex offences. 


The Watch Committee administered the city's police service from 1839 onwards. Minutes (GB127.Council Minutes/Watch Committee/0-104, 1839 to 1968) and reports (352 042 M22, 1838-date, indexed from 1838 to 1962) are available. Reports of the Policy and Resources Committee, and Gay Men and Lesbians sub-committees, are also available (1984-date, 352 042 M22).

Drag performance and cross-dressing

The playbills and programmes in our Theatre Collection are useful for tracing the history of drag performance in the city (in particular the Manchester Hippodrome and the Palace Theatre). Lots of publicity material for drag artists can be found in the queerupnorth theatre archive (ref GB127.M800) and the LGBT Foundation archives (ref GB127.M825). The stories of Harry Stokes the 'female husband' and the 1880 drag ball in Hulme have been traced online using our sources.

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