History Blog

Join us as we delve into Cornish museum collections from around Cornwall. We’ll be updating the website as our research continues.

Join in the conversation and explore stories, objects, paintings, artefacts and ephemera from Cornwall’s queer history.

Samuel Foote (1720-1777)

An engraving of Samuel Foote from The Courtney Library at the Royal Institution of Cornwall in Truro. He is dressed in drag as Mrs Cole, a character from one of his more successful plays ‘The Minor’ which was a parody of methodism. (Copyright Royal Institution of Cornwall: TRURI:  1000.192) Read more…

‘The Queen’s Regulations for the Army’ (1961)

Bodmin Keep military museum holds local military history depicted through around 12,000 artefacts including weapons and battlefield letters. They have uncovered a copy of the 1961 ‘Queen’s Regulations for the Army’ Read more…

Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929)

British painter Henry Scott Tuke is a well known artist in Cornwall and part of the Newlyn Art Group. But an aspect of Tuke’s work that is often neglected from interpretation is the queer coding through his artwork and the subsequent importance of Tuke’s art to the LGBTQ community Read more...

Pantomime Dames

The Pantomime Dame is considered a cornerstone of British theatre culture. Within the history of the theatre, men dressing as women was not considered a comment on sexuality but as a necessity owing to the fact that women weren’t allowed on stage read more…

Mermaids in Cornish Folklore

Mermaids have become a powerful symbol for the LGBTQ community and specifically for transgender people, so much so that the biggest trans charity in the UK is called Mermaids

Read more…

Badges

Badges have long been significant to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Wearing a badge is a simple but powerful signifier for coming out and being seen. The community created through the take up of badges helped early activists create unity within the disparate sections of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Bodmin Assize Records from Kresen Kernow

Image Courtesy of the Archives and Cornish Studies Service, Kresen KernowKresen Kernow maintains a sizeable archive of Cornish court and jail records (historically known as assize records). From these records, it is evident that a number of men were charged for the ‘crime’ of having same-sex relations right here in Cornwall.  Read more…