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February 2013


Recollections of People and Places for LGBT History Month 2013

There are many things to reflect on during LGBT history month. We have a considerable amount to celebrate and yet so much more to achieve; especially when you look around the world.
To understand the bigger picture, it is good to reflect on our own personal stories. One unifying aspect of our stories, are the people that are in our lives. The ones that have inspired us supported us and allowed us to grow. One person I will be thinking about this month is Kieran McGovern. He was the first Gay Mens Health Worker in Plymouth. He worked for the Man to Man Project in the early 1990s and was part of the Eddystone Trust in the early days. We worked together to set up the first LGBT youth group in Plymouth, called Shout! Kieran was a strong Irishman, who arrived in Plymouth in the late 1980s, and thankfully left his mark. He was never afraid to stand up and be counted. A determined advocate for LGBT rights, gay mens sexual health and HIV. Kieran was HIV positive and open about his

Location of The Mambo, Union Street

Photo by Anna Whittall

status, always endeavouring to bring awareness and challenge the stigma and discrimination of HIV. He sadly passed away in the late 1990s but I know he would find much to celebrate with battles fought and equality achieved in a small space of time. Remember to spend time this month to think about those people who have and continue to help us grow. We never stop coming out, confidence and pride are always needed. Through reflection we learn and through sharing these stories we can become strong together. Paul Cooke

The Mambo Situated in Union Street in the 50s/60s, roughly opposite what is now Aldi, was a caf owned by Reg O where we all congregated after the pubs closing time (10.30pm in those days). The caf closed Continued on NEXT PAGE >> for the evening, only opening in time

to catch the trade leaving the pubs. The Mambo was cheap and cheerful with egg trays lining the ceiling for insulation, coffee was 1 shilling a cup (5p today), and during the day you could get a fry-up for a couple of bob. Very often Reg would have his mother helping behind the counter and also Rita (Tommy). We mingled with the girls who plied their trade in the Millbay area and Rosie the flower seller who would tuck her left arm or sometimes her right arm inside her coat and greet all and sundry with a stream of foul abuse if they didnt give her a shilling for a flower, she knew Reg would let her sit and warm up. Rosie even made the front page of the Western Evening Herald when she got married she was 70 if she was a day! Sailors would spend their money in the pubs or in the

home with a matelot. We could walk quite safely from The Lockyer, down Union Street. and meet up under the canopy of the Palace Theatre for a chat and then onto The Mambo for a late coffee, quite a few laughs and invariably being chatted up by a hunk! I am so pleased that Big Al asked me for a few memories of Gay life in Plymouth. I wish the newsletter a long life and I hope to read a few stories of present day life in Plymouth as lived by the young people of today. Ted Whitehead The Lockyer Tavern I had been going in The Lockyer for a time, in early 1974 and I felt I was like a duck to water in this new world I had found. My confidence dashed momentarily, however, when I was taken aside by Tony and told my dress was dull (Its all blacks and greys dear!) from that day I have worn shirts with pizzazz! Kevin Kelland

News and Updates

Queer Britain:
The Struggle for LGBT human rights 19582012
The Plymouth LGBT Archive, in conjunction with Peninsula Arts, presents Peter Tatchell on Wed 6 March at 7pm at Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building. Peter has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967, during this lecture he will discuss the struggle for LGBT human rights in Britain. Contact the Peninsula Arts Box Office for more details on 01752 58 50 50 or

>> RECOLLECTIONS OF PEOPLE AND PLACES continued Paramount dance hall on girls who would then say Night-night and leave them high and dry. They would then either drop into The Mambo or meet up with us in Kings Road on their way back to barracks. At the rear of the caf was a small garden with an outside loo and no lights believe me it took brave lads to venture out there fine if you didnt mind who you were shaking hands with! Reg and his mother remained friends of mine for 40 odd years. His caf was known in every port in the world, even at Navy Days getting me an invite onto a submarine because I knew Reg I declined and still have the photo but I do wonder why I didnt put my trust in the sailor! Thankfully this was in the days before drugs were a problem and you could have a good night out with very little money and go home in a two-seater sports car with a naval officer or walk

Pride in Plymouth
The Lockyer Tavern c1896 and how it looks in the present day

Mark Ayres has recycled the Pride in Our Past project website http://lgbt-history. to provide a retrospective view of the project and exhibition. The revamped site combines material from the various archive sources and presents it in different formats to reach a wider audience. An example of this is where Mark has combined much of the content of the exhibition with photographs taken during the exhibition into an electronic magazine that has been published on, the magazine can also be viewed on the exhibition page of the revamped site. The site has links to both LGBT history and local history resources with the tagline Pride in Plymouth bringing history and people together.

Eddystone History Project

The Eddystone Project has been awarded some money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore the history of Eddystone and HIV. Thanks to the inspiration of the Plymouth LGBT archive, we were awarded a small pot of money from the All Our Stories Heritage Fund. We will explore personal stories of HIV, gather archive materials and end the project with a small exhibition around World AIDS Day. We would love to hear your stories of HIV, either from people living with or affected by HIV. Please contact Paul Cooke at the Eddystone Trust on or telephone 0800 328 3508. Look for some featured Oral History interviews, throughout February, on the archives own YouTube page:
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