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Authority record
GB 1534 LAIC · Corporate body · 1984-1996

The Archive began in London in 1984, firstly under the name of London Lesbian Archive and later as the Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (LAIC). It was funded by the Greater London Council, supporting the wages of one full-time and two part-time workers to develop and sustain a collection of UK lesbian history and culture. LAIC operated out of the London Women's Centre at Wesley House, 4 Wild Court, London, along with many other feminist collectives and women's organisations. Like Glasgow Women’s Library’s own collection, materials in the archive were all donated.

In the early years the archive collection mainly comprised lesbian books including literature, pulp fiction and a significant amount of lesbian & gay as well as feminist non-fiction. It received donations of duplicates from other feminist libraries and archives in the UK, such as Bath Feminist Archive (which is now incorporated into the collection of Feminist Archives South). LAIC also took donations of journals and pamphlets, oral histories, foreign language materials, organisational records, press clippings and manuscripts from individual women, and by the late 1980s the LAIC had amassed an impressive and unique collection of lesbian women’s materials. The collection ranges from organisational records and personal archives to journals and ephemera.

Like many of its sister organisations, LAIC went through turbulent periods in its history. Shifting dynamics in feminist, lesbian and queer politics meant that the collection occasionally faced division, and even at times closure. The political landscape of the 1980s and early 1990s consistently put pressure on funding, and laws such as Section 28 caused precarity, uncertainty and turbulence for projects like LAIC. By 1995, funding the Archive became impossible and new premises were sought. Glasgow Women’s Library housed the collection as a donation; today, the Lesbian Archive comprises around one-third of GWL's entire archive, and LAIC's (uncatalogued) library collection is housed on the mezzanine level.

London Lesbian Line
GB 1534 LL1 · Corporate body · 1977-?

London Lesbian Line, the very first lesbian line in the world, was set up in 1977. It was run by lesbian feminists on a voluntary basis. On April 1 1987, the Women’s Referral Information Services took over all assets and liabilities of the Line and it continued its work as a contact point for lesbians to talk to others about their experiences in all aspects of their life, including relationships, parenting, physical and mental health, prejudice, abuse, ableism, and religion. None of the volunteers had official training beyond a training programme run by more experienced volunteers. Though not a counselling or befriending service, they were in contact with groups to which they could refer callers in need of professional advice. Records show the Line continued operating into at least the early 2000s.

London Lesbian Line
GB 1534 LL1 · Corporate body · 1977-?

The London Lesbian Line, created in 1977, was a volunteer-run telephone helpline for those needing to talk about their lesbian identity. It was the first of its kind specifically aimed at lesbians, and was subject to calls relating to many aspects of everyday life, including relationships, parenting, religion, mental and physical health, abuse, and substance problems. Though no formal training was given beyond a training programme given by more experience volunteers, the Line was able to refer callers to professional advisors if necessary, and remained a point of contact for which their callers could speak freely. Records indicate the Line was still in operation into the early 2000s.

GB 1534 RM1 · Person · 9/12/1911-5/4/1988

Rosemary Joy Manning was born in Weymouth, Dorset, 9 December 1911. She attended boarding school in Devon and later studied at the Royal Holloway College from 1930 to 1933, graduating with a 2nd class honours degree in Classics.
Manning first worked in a department store on Oxford street and then as a secretary. Unhappy with her work she suffered a nervous breakdown and was treated at the Maudsley Hospital, following this Manning was offered a teaching job by her former headmistress where she stayed as a teacher for a further 35 years and in 1950 she moved to Hampstead, London to take over a long-established girls’ preparatory school as headmistress.
In 1957 Manning released Green Smoke, her first in the series of Dragon children’s books she would become well known for. In 1962 she released The Chinese Garden, following a failed suicide attempt. The book was later known as her greatest novel and an important piece of lesbian literature. After retiring, she publicly came out as a lesbian in a televised interview in 1980. She died on the 5th April 1988.

GB 1534 RM2 · Corporate body · 1975-

Marion Boyars Publishers is an independent publishing company located in London, England renowned for publishing adventurous and occasionally controversial fiction and nonfiction especially in translation within the humanities and social sciences.
Marion Boyars Publishers was formed in 1975, but had previously been formed in the sixties under the name Calder and Boyers being run jointly with John Calder. When Marion Boyars died in 1999, her daughter Catheryn Kilgarriff took over and currently is managing director of the company.

GB 1534 RM3 · Corporate body · 1978 - c.2013

The Women’s Press LTD is a publishing firm established in 1978 and dedicated to publishing books for women by women, feminist fiction and non-fiction by women writers from around the globe. Publishing included literary and crime fiction, biography and autobiography, health, race and disability, women’s studies and cultural, sexual and political history. The publishers appear to have dissolved c.2013.

GB 1534 RM4 · Corporate body · 1921 -

Jonathan Cape is a London publishing firm founded in 1921 by Herbert Jonathan Cape and his business partner Wren Howard. The firm established a reputation for high quality design, production winning more Booker Prizes and short listings than any other publishers. After Cape’s death in 1960 the firm later merged with three other London publishing houses and in 1987 was taken over by Random House.

GB 1534 RM5 · Corporate body · 1899-

Curtis Brown LTD (Curtis Brown Literary and talent Agency) is a literary and talent agency based in London, United Kingdom. It was founded by Albert Curtis Brown in 1899 and has represented many famous figures in the literary and political world throughout the twentieth century. It is now led by Sarah Spear as CEO and has diversified with acting, television and theatre departments.

GB 1534 RM6 · Person · 10/05/1908- 27/06/1966

John Lancelot Agard Bramhall Davenport was born in London, England in 1908. He became known as a critic and book reviewer who wrote for The Observer and The Spectator.
Son of the writer Robert Davenport and the actress Muriel George, he was primarily raised by his grandmother and educated at ST Paul’s and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Following his studies Davenport worked for MGM as a screenwriter with F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1934 Davenport married Clemency Hale, a painter and set designer and had one child. In the 1940s he taught at Stowe School and worked for the BBC at Bush House as head of the Belgian Section. Following his divorce to Hale, Davenport married Marjorie Morrison and had another child. In the 1960s, he retired to the country and died shortly afterwards.

GB 1534 SWC1 · Corporate body · 1984-?

The Southwark Women’s Centre was founded in 1984 with the intention of providing support to women residing in the London Borough of Southwark. It was a charity committed to improving the lives of women in the area, including those suffering from poverty or in need of educational or professional advice. The Women’s Centre was also a hub for multicultural gatherings, including Chinese, Black and Indian groups, where they would be able to connect with others and celebrate their native culture, an aspect further reflected in the management of the charity, which included a number of black and Asian staff.

Support groups were also created for lesbians, both young and old, as well as additional attention being given to lesbian mothers, creating a safe space for them to discuss their problems, relax at recreational events, and receive advice on all aspects of life.