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Pride in the Past uncovers Cheshire's LGBT history

The exhibition will be held at the Grosvenor Museum and Chester Market in February

Chester Pride 2016(Image: David Sejrup)

An exhibition that uncovers the hidden lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history of the borough will be held in Chester this February.

Chester Pride has partnered with Big Heritage to host ‘Pride in the Past’ at both the Grosvenor Museum and Chester Market.

The event will tell the story of nearly 2,000 years of LGBT history, from Romans arriving at Chester in AD79 through to the modern day.

Chair of Chester Pride Helen Pickin-Jones said: “This year we celebrate 50 years since the government partially decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales for those aged over 21.

“This exhibition is a great way for Chester Pride to tell the story of the LGBT community both before and after 1967.”

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The exhibition, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will feature artefacts and historic records from the Grosvenor Museum and Cheshire Record Office.

It will also include modern items donated by Chester Pride and oral history interviews with LGBT people who live and work in Cheshire.

“There have been some surprising stories revealed as part of the research for this project, and giving voice to these stories is an important and meaningful way to mark LGBT history month 2017, and begin the build up to our fifth Chester Pride, which takes place on August 19,” Helen said.

“We must also remember that there are still countries in 2017 where identifying as LGBT is still a criminal offence and other anti-LGBT laws still exist.”

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The exhibition will be split into two parts - the history from Roman times up to 1885 will be shown at the Grosvenor Museum and the history since 1885 will be on display at Chester Market.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has donated the spaces and staff have supported Chester Pride and Big Heritage in their work.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “The staff at the Grosvenor Museum and Cheshire Record Office have been working alongside Chester Pride and Big Heritage to uncover the secret stories hidden in their collections.

“There are artefacts that have taken on a new meaning when re-examined from an LGBT perspective.

“Pride in the Past will give residents of the city a chance to learn some new and surprising things about its history.”

Celebrating Chester Pride 2016(Image: David Sejrup)

The Pride in the Past exhibition runs from Wednesday, February 1, to Saturday, February 25. February marks LGBT History Month.

The Grosvenor Museum is open 10.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, then 1pm to 4pm on Sundays.

Chester Market located inside the Forum shopping centre is open Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm.

The project is still looking for volunteers to contribute stories to an oral history archive.

For more information visit www.chesterpride.co.uk/past or contact them via twitter @ChesterPride or via Facebook at ChesterPrideUK.

The Chester Pride festival will take place at Castle Square on Saturday, August 19, and remains a free event for all to attend.

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