Scotland's Rainbow Urban Past

Record, research and share your LGBT+ places in Scotland during LGBT History Month 2017!

Submitted by Nicky on 01-02-2017 09:43:05

The histories of Scotland’s towns and cities are filled with places that would not usually appear in a history book, architectural guide or in the National Record of the Historic Environment in Scotland (NRHE) in Scotland, also known as Canmore. During 2017, Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (#HHA2017), Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP) are keen to ensure that histories and stories about places previously overlooked, invisible, deliberately hidden or now gone are shared, recognised, included and preserved in the NRHE. SUP have been inspired by existing projects Our Story Scotland, Remember When, Queer Scotland Maps 1895–1995, and the Lesbian Archive at Glasgow Women’s Library.

Get involved...


24 George Square, Edinburgh (date unknown), the University of Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy. By 1971 it was also home of the Scottish Minorities Group and venue of Scotland's first gay disco, Cobweb. Courtesy of HES (Miss Pearson's Annan album)

Recording LGBT+ places
This February for LGBT History Month SUP invites people around Scotland and beyond to add their own information, photos and memories to existing sites in Canmore or to suggest new sites via the SUP Urban Detectives platform, to shed light on places which are now or have been important to people identifying with LGBT+ communities and activities.
These places could be (and not limited to):

  • of importance to one strand or the range of intersectional LGBT+ identities and communities
  • of national importance in LGBT+ histories or an individual’s personal history
  • associated with organisations or well-known individuals
  • which are or have been important to LGBT+ campaigning or social activities
  • which have enacted or challenged perceptions of LGBT+ identities and communities as taboo, illegal, immoral, or mentally or physically sick
  • which are disappearing or have disappeared because for example of improvements in rights for LGBT+ people or of urban gentrification
  • indoor or outdoor spaces, public or private places.


Researching LGBT+ histories
Over at Scotland’s Places explore a wide range of freely accessible archive materials in which LGBT+ histories and stories could be discovered. Find out too about the challenges of describing LGBT+ lives, stories and histories in archives where often archaic, specialist medical and legal language or potentially or currently offensive terms have been used, and how new approaches using current language can make records more accessible today.


Share and follow!

  • share your LGBT+ places via Urban Detectives using the hashtag #lgbtplaces
  • share your LGBT+ places on social media using the hashtag #lgbtplaces
  • follow Scotland’s Urban Past @scoturbanpast to find out what information, photos and memories people are contributing and to share more LGBT+ heritage and history
  • follow Scotland’s Places @scotlandsplaces to find out more about research resources and searching for and describing LGBT+ histories and stories in archives
  • would you like to write a blog post on your LGBT+ places? If so, get in touch!



Explore more LGBT+ history and heritage around the UK

Dig It 2017 Historic Pride short films about James IV, James Barry, Francis Douglas, and Sophia Jex Blake.

Historic England LGBTQ Heritage

Speak Up and Speaking Out about LGBTQ+ Lives in Archives
Speak Out London 

LGBTQ histories in the V&A

Same-sex desire and gender at the British Museum

LGBT History Month Scotland
LGBT History Month (England and Wales) 



The small print

  • You will need to sign up to Scotland’s Urban Past Urban Detectives to contribute information, photos or memories about LGBT+ places in Scotland.
  • All material is contributed under a Creative Commons 4.0 licence meaning that the copyright of the material remains with the contributor and that material cannot be used for commercial purposes without permission of the original contributor.
  • Contributors must be aged at least 16 years.

Please ensure

  • you have permission to add the information and photos via Urban Detectives, i.e. your contributions do not infringe any laws on copyright, privacy, data protection or intellectual property. Please do not upload newspaper articles, leaflets, printed documents or other published material
  • that any photos uploaded are suitable for a work environment, i.e. images are not obscene, violent, invading another’s privacy, hateful, harassing, discriminatory, or pose a risk to individual safety or otherwise objectionable
  • that content is not spam or advertisingyou have permission from any person featured in a photograph to upload that image
  • that any photographs identify the location in question

Scotland’s Urban Past will operate a take-down policy if required. Please note all new sites in Canmore suggested in Urban Detectives are moderated; content uploaded to existing sites is not.

Please contact Scotland's Urban Past if you are concerned about any content added under LGBT+ places.



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