Nightingale50 heritage project announced celebrating 50 years of The Gale!

Birmingham LGBT and The Nightingale Club are delighted to announce ‘Nightingale50’. This new heritage project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will archive and preserve fifty years of local LGBTQ+ heritage by mapping the fifty year history of Birmingham’s oldest gay bar, the legendary Nightingale Club.

Birmingham LGBT are overjoyed to be delivering this hugely important project. For the last fifty years the Nightingale has been a home to many LGBTQ+ people, and we can’t wait for communities locally and nationally to become more aware of its fascinating history and significance. We hope this is a project that Birmingham can really get behind to celebrate, share, and be proud of our rich LGBTQ+ cultural heritage’.

The ‘Nightingale50’ project will unearth the story of how the venue was founded, its journey across four different locations in the city, and the important role the venue has played for the LGBTQ+ community in Birmingham and beyond. Between October 2019 and March 2020 SHOUT will record interviews with local community members and collect images, video, posters, and flyers in order to make a documentary film about the history of The Nightingale and the Birmingham Gay Village. The film will premiere as part of the Birmingham Pride 2020 celebrations, and will be available widely online afterwards. The project will also preserve these histories in the Library of Birmingham Archives and commission artist Frederick Anderson to create two new murals exploring the Nightingale’s history at the venue itself, these will be unveiled at a special event on Tuesday 5th November as part of SHOUT Festival’s 2019 programme. 

David Nash, Director, Nightingale Club said ’The Nightingale is absolutely delighted to be involved and working closely with Birmingham LGBT on this project. Lots of hard work, effort and preparation has been put in to bringing this project to fruition and we’re excited to see where this journey takes us. The Nightingale is one of the most iconic LGBTQ+ spaces in the U.K. and it’s so important that its place in our history is being documented in this way’.

There will be plenty of opportunities for the community to get involved in ‘Nightingale50’! The project aims to record a memory or preserve a photo from each of the fifty years of the venue’s history, we are looking for people to come forward and share their memories, photos, videos, and experiences of going to the Nightingale. We are also looking for volunteers to help support the running of the project, archive materials, and record oral histories (full training will be provided). 

Anyone interested in finding out more about taking part should email Adam Carver on nightingale50@blgbt.org.