The Day The World Came To Huddersfield

Archive issues call-out for photos of the UK’s first National Pride in Huddersfield in 1981

The UK’s first ever national Pride took place in Huddersfield on 4th July 1981* . To mark the fortieth anniversary, a series of arts and archive events will take place until autumn 2022. Part of these events is call-out from the West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS)* to anyone who attended or watched for photos, banners, posters, badges and flyers from the march.

WYAS will be holding the first of two Pride 81 Submission Days at Kirklees Archives’ new home in The Piazza Centre (opposite Huddersfield Library, HD1 2RS). The first is on Saturday 25th  September, 11am-4pm. Everyone is welcome to drop in to add their items to the archive, including the option to have items scanned and returned on the spot. As part of the project, the pictures will then be made available on-line free for anyone to view and will become a permanent part of the archives collection. There will also be a small exhibition of some of the existing items in the archive on Pride 1981 on the day.

In addition to this archive work, there will also be two arts strands to the project:

  1. Photographic Exhibition: Internationally renowned photographer Ajamu X* will take a series of 20 portraits of people who marched in 1981 and people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community in Huddersfield today. Ajamu was born in Huddersfield and saw the original Pride 81 march. In February 2022, there will be a Street Exhibition of some of the portraits at key parts of the original Pride 81 route, along with some of the new archive photographs. The full set of portraits will then be displayed at the Lawrence Batley Theatre* from 1 June to 31 August 2022. After that, they will become a part of the permanent collection at Huddersfield Art Gallery.
  1. Immersive Performance: Inkbrew Productions* will create an immersive performance recreating Pride 81. The audience will be participants in the march, co-creating the piece with actors playing activists from 1981, who tell their stories as they march. The piece will also be performed as a showcase at the Lawrence Batley Cellar Theatre, Huddersfield and the Kings Arms, Salford from 1-3 rd July 2022.

The events have been made possible by funding from the Arts Council of England, Kirklees Council and LGBT+ History Month UK. Social media for the project uses “#Pride1981”

Robert Clegg, Kirklees Archivist with WYAS, will be running the day. He says: “We do have some images of the Pride 1981 march, but there must be loads more out there. It’s an event of national historical importance. If you hold any items relating to the march then we’d love to see you on the 25th September. Please search your cupboards and attics to help us preserve this remarkable story for future generations! Your items will become a part of history and the celebration of this 40th anniversary.”

Stephen M Hornby* , Inkbrew Productions, will be writing some of the immersive show and will be present at the Archive Day to chat to submitters about their memories. He says:

“We’re delighted to be a part of this important project, restoring to Huddersfield the memory of an event of such importance. Huddersfield was the centre of the LGBT+ universe in 1981! Its such a shame that we don’t have more records of the event and this archive call-out is a great way to grow our knowledge of what happened and who was there. I’m hoping people will turn up not just with some photos, but with some great stories too, which might then become a part of the show.”

Contact for interviews or further information:
Stephen M Hornby hornby.s@sky.com
07890 992057

  • The Gemini Club was opened in 1976 in Huddersfield and became a popular nightclub for gay and bisexual men. The West Yorkshire Police Force regularly raided the club. So, in a show of solidarity, the organisers Of Pride moved it from London creating the UK’s first National Pride. It took place on Saturday 4 th July 1981. Around 1,500 people marched from Huddersfield Town old stadium through the centre of Huddersfield to Greenhead Park, with the NUS Gay Conference happening subsequently at Huddersfield University (then a polytechnic), workshops at the Mechanics’ Institute and an all-nighter at the Gemini Club.
  • West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS) collects and looks after the unique documentary heritage of the region.  Individual Pride 81 submission appointments can also be made.
    Please contact the archives team (Kirklees@wyjs.org.uk / 0113 535 0150) to arrange.
  • Ajamu X is an acclaimed fine art photographic artist, archive curator and radical sex activist. His work has been shown in many prestigious galleries, museums and alternative spaces around the world.
  • The Lawrence Batley Theatre is located in the centre of Huddersfield and presents a wide ranging year-round programme of in-house and visiting productions. The LBT Gallery offersa dynamic programme showcasing local talent and national touring exhibitions.
  • Inkbrew Productions is an award-winning theatre and film company, with specialisms in performing heritage, political theatre and dramatising archives. Twitter: “@inkbrew” Insta: “inkbrewproductions”.
  • Stephen M Hornby is the National Playwright in Residence to LGBT History Month and has completed commissions for a number of archives museums.