The National Trust, a British charity founded in 1895 that manages heritage buildings and open spaces for the UK, is now running daytime tours of London's queer club culture from 1918 to 1967 (when the Sexual Offences Act decriminalized private homosexual acts between men over the age of 21), ending at a version of the Caravan, a queer-friendly members' club from 1934 recreated from police records and court reports. Further, the queer activists Sexual Avengers marked 2017's LGBT History month by placing unofficial “Queer Heritage” blue plaques on London landmarks, including one that commemorated the 1988 action against Section 28 in which four lesbians rappelled into the second chamber of the UK Parliament, the House of Lords.
The fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act is being marked this summer by programming at the British Film Institute and other UK cultural institutions. With the National Trust also showcasing the portrait of the Lord Orlando, it is a time when queer histories are clearly entering the mainstream curatorial and cultural spaces and interpretations, making 2017 a productive time to offer a thick description of the complexities of labor, politics, and creative practice that may be smoothed over by this move. At the same time, current queer and feminist spaces in London (as elsewhere in the overdeveloped world) are encountering a recapitulation and intensification of the 1970s version of austerity and precarity that formed both the pretext and subtext of Potter's first film, Thriller (1979), making it an ideal text through which to examine these issues.