Lesbian Archive and Information Centre

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Lesbian Archive and Information Centre

Parallel form(s) of name

  • LAIC
  • Lesbian Archive

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • London Lesbian Archive

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1984-1996

History

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.

Places

Holborn
Central London
London

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Place access points

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

GB 1534 LAIC

Maintained by

Institution identifier

GB 1534

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Revised

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Authority record created by Lucy Brownson on 10/09/2021

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Maintenance notes