Derek Jarman Blue Plaque unveiled in London today

London, UK – 19 February 2019
A prestigious Blue Plaque was unveiled this morning to commemorate the avant-garde film-maker, painter, gardener, author, costume and set designer, poet and LGBT+ activist Derek Jarman on the 25th anniversary of his death from HIV in 1994. The unveiling was performed by the actor and director Dexter Fletcher and took place at Butlers Wharf Building, 36 Shad Thames, SE1 2YE, where Derek once lived and worked.
There were short speeches by:
David Olusoga – English Heritage, Blue Plaques Panel member and Trustee, historian and broadcaster
Peter Logan – Artist and kinetic sculptor
Simon Fisher-Turner – Composer and musician
Peter Tatchell – LGBT+ human rights campaigner and friend of Derek Jarman
 
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Tatchell said:
“Derek was a personal friend and I worked with him for many years. He was a strong
supporter of the LGBT+ direct action group OutRage! and was arrested in 1992
when we tried to march on Parliament to demand the repeal of anti-gay laws. As he
often reminded people, he spent most of his life as a criminal under legislation that
outlawed homosexuality. He gave me and other OutRage! members a cameo part in
his film Edward II, to highlight the parallels between Edward’s violent demise and
contemporary anti-LBGT violence. Derek was the first UK public figure to come out
as HIV positive, at the AIDS & Human Rights conference that I organised to parallel
the World Health Minister’s first summit on AIDS in 1988. He was a trailblazer in
every aspect of his life and work – a fierce critic of everything conventional and
orthodox. A true innovator. One of his favourite quips was from Dorothy Parker:
‘Heterosexuality is not normal. It’s just common.’ I was honoured to have Derek as a
friend and comrade.”
 
English Heritage Trustee and Blue Plaques panel member, David Olusoga, added:
“Jarman was a major cultural figure of the last quarter of the twentieth century. He
was a unique voice in cinema, an important campaigner for gay rights, a painter and
a gardener. He brought a creative and disruptive energy to everything he did, at a
time when it was urgently needed. We are delighted to honour him here on the South
Bank, where he began to create his Super 8 universe.”

Further Information:
Peter Tatchell
Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
07795 077 065
Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
 
English Heritage Press Office
020 7973 3390
Email: press@english-heritage.org.uk