Housed in a 19th-century building behind King’s Cross railway station in London, Queer Britain museum is entirely financed by private donations.
From Schwules Museum in Berlin and Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, to Australia Lesbian & Gay Archives in Melbourne and IHLIA LGBT Heritage in Amsterdam, the world has seen dedicated museums crop up every now and then to remind us about LGBTQ+ rights. But for the very first time, one such museum has opened its door to the world in the United Kingdom!
London has recently become home to Queer Britain, a museum centered around the history, achievements, and struggles of the community. Located at 2 Granary Square, the museum spans across two floors, featuring four gallery spaces and five exhibition areas along with a retail store. The UK’s first and only national LGBTQ+ museum welcomes all regardless of sexuality or gender identity, to find out about the culture they have been born into, have chosen or seek to understand.
“At one of our regular coffee chats, Joseph Galliano (cofounder of Queer Britain) said he’d had an idea that he wanted to share with me that he had been developing since his time working with Gay Times — an LGBTQ museum, a space where people could go to celebrate success, to learn about queer history, and to ensure that people’s life stories are not lost forever,” says Ian Mehrtens, also cofounder at the museum.
He further said, “It was approaching the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 — and it seemed like a moment in history to ensure that everyone knew what life had been like when it was illegal to be gay.” Speaking of history, the location of the museum was one of the world’s first multi-modal interchanges — a canal basin for the transfer of goods between the canal, the famous Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations, and connecting roads.
Welcome to Queer Britain, the opening exhibition aims to introduce guests to the museum’s vision and features several pieces from the museum’s burgeoning photographic collection. In July 2022, another exhibit called We Are Queer Britain will be hosted. The experience aims to comprise of 50 different voices to celebrate 50 years of Gay Pride in London and will run until spring 2023.