His­toric lit­er­ary sites to take Pride of Place

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS - By Guy Bell gbell@thek­m­group.co.uk @gbel­lKM

Three Kent build­ings with colour­ful his­to­ries have been relisted to mark half a cen­tury since the par­tial de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

His­toric Eng­land’s Pride of Place re­search project is re­veal­ing the un­told sto­ries of les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and queer her­itage (LGBTQ).

Siss­inghurst Cas­tle and the ad­join­ing Priest’s House are relisted in recog­ni­tion of their tales of same-sex af­fairs.

Deb­o­rah Wil­liams, His­toric Eng­land’s List­ing Team Leader for the West, said: “There’s a gap in Eng­land’s rich and colour­ful his­tory when it comes to record­ing our LGBTQ her­itage.

“So we want to share the un­told sto­ries of these build­ings and places.”

Siss­inghurst Cas­tle was pur­chased in 1930 by poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, who lived there with her hus­band Harold Ni­col­son. They both had nu­mer­ous same-sex af­fairs through­out their mar­ried life, in­clud­ing Sackville-West’s ro­mance in the 1920s with writer Vir­ginia Woolf.

The Priest’s House in Small Hythe, near Ten­ter­den and Cran­brook, was home to theatre pro­ducer Edith Craig from 1899. She lived there in a mé­nage à trois with fe­male part­ners Christa­bel Mar­shall (or Chris St John) and Clare ‘Tony’ At­wood.

They were reg­u­larly vis­ited by other women who had same-sex re­la­tion­ships, in­clud­ing Woolf, Sackville-West and Rad­clyffe Hall.

Ingress Abbey, in Green­hithe, has also been relisted, along with more than a dozen oth­ers across the UK – mark­ing 50 years since ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was par­tially de­crim­i­nalised.

Mrs Wil­liams added: “These build­ings have a right­ful place in our na­tion’s his­tory. Any­body can now get a glimpse into the lives of the re­mark­able peo­ple who lived, worked in and vis­ited them.

“They can also bet­ter un­der­stand their achieve­ments and the chal­lenges they faced decades and even cen­turies ago.

“Many of the places listed were homes and safe havens for peo­ple in the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, mak­ing it all the more im­por­tant that they are recog­nised on the Na­tional Her­itage List for Eng­land.”

siss­inghurst Cas­tle Gar­dens, left, and Priest’s House, mid­dle, homes of Vita sackville-west, right, and now relisted

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.