- 1982 - 1996 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Series contains 104 files of textual material, totalling 17 archive boxes.
Name of creator
The Camden Lesbian Centre Project (CLCP) was founded in 1982, when several women from a loose social collective known as Kentish Town Lesbian Group (based at the nearby Kentish Town Women’s Workshop) recognised the need for a space expressly for lesbians. The group - all of whom were white lesbians - successfully applied for grant funding from Camden Council Women's Committee, and they began organising regular meetings and events with a view to establishing a centre for lesbians. In 1984, the Black Lesbian Group was founded as a support group for Black lesbians and lesbians of colour, who faced the tripartite barriers of homophobia, racism, and misogyny; the group used the term 'Black' in the broader political sense.
Having worked closely together, Camden Lesbian Centre Project and the Black Lesbian Group merged to form the Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group (CLCBLG) in 1985. Despite their differences and the fact that CLCP had originally excluded Black lesbians from its initial stages, BLG members felt the merger presented an opportunity to improve things for their community. The merger agreement stipulated that at least 50% of CLCBLG's staff and its Management Committee would comprise Black lesbians and that around half of the Centre's events and workshops would be for Black lesbians only.
From 1985-86, CLCBLG sought out premises across Camden. Although initially unsure of how the site would work for them, the group eventually applied for a change of use for a former retail space at 54-56 Phoenix Road, which they were granted amidst vocal resistance and homophobia from some local residents. The group signed the lease in September 1986. CLCBLG worked with Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative, Support Community Building and Common Ownership Design and Construct (CODAC) to renovate and alter the Centre before opening its doors to the public on Saturday 31 October 1987. From this point onward, the Centre was a social and political hub for many strands of London's lesbian community, becoming home to workshops, socials, seminars, discussion groups and other events. It became the base of groups like the Older Lesbian Network, Zamimass Black lesbian group, and GEMMA, the friendship network for disabled and non-disabled lesbians.
With successive and ever more severe cuts to grant funding from Camden Council, CLCBLG was forced to scale down its paid staff members and operations from c.1990 onwards. The Centre eventually wrapped up its operations in 1996, when the group was informed that they'd receive no grant funding in that year's budget.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series contains material relating to the establishment, management, activities, and eventual closure (c.1996) of Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group. Includes meeting agendas and minutes, newsletters, annual reports, correspondence, flyers, posters, leaflets, press cuttings, message books, workers' logbooks, commissioned research, and more.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
This series is arranged into 104 files.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Some files are closed for data protection reasons. Please consult the Archivist at Glasgow Women’s Library.
Conditions governing reproduction
Please consult the Archivist.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
No technical requirements.
There is a guide to navigating this series by group and record type, available from the GWL Archivist at email@example.com.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Please note: Within material in this series, the term 'Black' is often used in the broader political sense, encompassing Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. As such, this material's original descriptions have largely been retained, added to, and linked to other relevant archival records using subject headings including 'Black people (LGBTQ)' and 'People of colour (LGBTQ)' in the 'Subject access points' field; clicking on each subject heading will enable you to view the catalogue entries for related material elsewhere in the CLCBLG Archive and the wider GWL archive collections.
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000)
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Created Summer 2021
Digital object metadata