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British Library of Political and Economic Science

CHESTERMAN, John, d 1996, gay activist


Reference code(s): GB 0097 HCA/Chesterman

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: CHESTERMAN, John, d 1996, gay activist

Date(s): 1970-1978

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 2 boxes

Name of creator(s): Chesterman | John | d 1996 | gay activist


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Chesterman was closely involved in the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in 1970, and the production of the Gay International News, which preceded Gay News. The GLF began life in a basement room at the London School of Economics on 13 October 1970. Though without a formal structure, the movement grew rapidly for the next few years and undertook a great number of consciousness-raising activities, such as demonstrations, debates and the establishment of a new gay press.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers collected by John Chesterman relating to the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), 1970-1978, including a GLF manifesto, 1971; early GLF leaflets and fliers, 1971-1974, and other papers mainly relating to organised demonstrations; GLF diaries, [1971-1973]; papers relating to GLF regional and special interest groups, [1972], notably the London and South London GLF, the first gay squat, the GLF Counter Psychiatry Group, the Women's Liberation Workshop, Leeds GLF, Camden GLF and the transvestites newsletter; press cuttings and reports relating to GLF, 1970-1973, mainly concerning gay social life, and including the first mentions of GLF in print; material relating to gay publications, 1970-1972, such as Come Together and Gay News, including photographs of their production; material relating to the GLF campaign against Everything you always wanted to know about sex (W H Allen, London and New York, 1970) by David Robert Reuben, [1971]; material concerning GLF conferences, seminars and debates, 1971- 1972, including a typescript report on the first national GLF think-in at Leeds University and photographs of a debate at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh; GLF stickers.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers have been listed according to the files created by Chesterman.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright retained by the depositor and their heirs.

Physical characteristics:

Some of the material is in poor condition.

Finding aids:

Full handlist and on-line catalogue available.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Given by John Chesterman in 1993 and 1995.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Hall-Carpenter Archives at the British Library of Political and Economic Science also contain the papers of the Gay Liberation Front, and the papers of Rupert Beach relating to the GLF.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 2000

Bisexuality | Sexuality
Gay liberation movement | Liberation movements | Political movements
Homosexuality | Sexuality
Lesbian, gay and bisexual campaigning groups | Groups
Lesbianism | Sexuality
Transvestism | Life styles | Cultural life | Cultural conditions
Womens liberation movement | Liberation movements | Political movements

Personal names
Chesterman | John | d 1996 | gay activist

Corporate names
Gay Liberation Front
Leeds University
Traverse Theatre | Edinburgh

Edinburgh | Midlothian | Scotland | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Leeds | West Riding | Yorkshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
St Pancras | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe