‘1967: Up Against It’ explores the impact of the Sexual Offences Act (1967) passed on 27 July that year, and the 50th anniversary of the deaths of the borough’s most (in)famous gay couple, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, on 9 August.
Through the stories of well-known and some not so well-known gay men living in Islington before and after the act, this exhibition seeks to reflect the experience of men who could not declare their love freely and the difference the 1967 act made to them. Stories featured include those of Oscar Wilde, imprisoned at Holloway and Pentonville prisons, and record producer Joe Meek whose life, like Orton and Halliwell’s, also ended in tragic circumstances.
Collaged public library book covers created by Orton and Halliwell, a Halliwell collage and his newly acquired ‘World of Cats’ screen will be on display together for the first time. The exhibition further asks whether the sixth-month sentence the couple received for theft and malicious damage in 1962 was, as Orton asserted, “because we were queers.”
Dates: Saturday 22 July to Saturday 21 October 2017
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 5pm. Wednesday and Sunday: closed