On Saturday 8 February, Charleston will be a hub of OUTing the Past, an international celebration of LGBT+ history.

Join us for a day of talks exploring hidden aspects of LGBT+ history, including: Jane Traies on a lesbian love triangle in rural Sussex, Andrew Lumsden on E M Forster and the Labouchere family, and Sarah Carr on the experiences of same-sex attracted women in the mental health system. There will also be a live recording of Josh Rivers’ podcast ‘Busy Being Black’, described as a ‘beautiful love letter to the queer Black community’, and Dan Vo, founder of the award-winning LGBTQ tours at the V&A museum, will speak about the power of communicating queer lives in a museum setting.

Departure times:

Lewes train station to Charleston


Charleston to Lewes train station


The talks are free, but spaces are limited and we recommend booking online in advance.

11:00 – 11:40: Jane Traies – Bloomsbury’s Hidden Neighbours
12:00 – 12:40: Andrew Lumsden – E M Forster & the Labouchere Family
13:00 – 13.40: Josh Rivers – Busy Being Black
14:00 – 14:40: Sarah Carr and Helen Spandler – The ‘Special Problem’
15:00 – 15:40: Dan Vo – Queer Eye for the Museum
16:00 – 16:40: Luna Morgana – A Brief Encounter with Non-Binary History

8 February, 11:30-14:30: Queer House Tours

Charleston’s newly rewritten queer house tours will also run on the day. Charleston has an incredible LGBTQ+ history, having been home to the Bloomsbury group – a largely queer group of artists, writers and thinkers that included Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes and E M Forster. Together, they forged new ways of living at Charleston in the early 20th century, with the house acting as a space to explore love, friendship, pacifism, atheism, same-gender relationships and polyamory. The tours offer visitors the chance to explore Charleston’s groundbreaking history with an expert guide, delving deep into the many queer relationships within and beyond the Bloomsbury group.


*Please note that house tours are ground floor only during the winter months, as the upstairs is closed for conservation.

8-9 February, 10:00-17:00: LGBT+ Equals Me

Exhibition in Charleston’s hay barn. ‘LGBT+ Equals Me’ is curated by young people identifying as LGBTQ+, who have been exploring and connecting with LGBTQ+ heritage across East Sussex over the past year. The project is funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, and has been delivered in partnership with Charleston, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, East Sussex County Council, Towner, De La Warr Pavilion, and local schools and young people.


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