top of page

A major new two-volume anthology which uncovers the rich reality of life for queer men in London

Some Men In London Queer Life Volume one
Some Men In London Queer Life Volume two

Some Men In London:
Queer Life, 1945-1959

In the 1940s, it was believed that homosexuality had been becoming more widespread in the aftermath of war. A moral panic ensued, centred around London as the place to which gay men gravitated.

In a major new anthology, Peter Parker explores what it was actually like for queer men in London in this period, whether they were well-known figures such as John Gielgud, ‘Chips’ Channon, E.M. Forster, Francis Bacon, Joe Orton or living lives of quiet – or occasionally rowdy – anonymity in pubs, clubs, more public places of assignation, or at home. It is rich with letters, diaries, psychological textbooks, novels, films, plays and police records, covering a wide range of viewpoints, from those who deplored homosexuality to those who campaigned for its decriminalisation.

This first volume, from 1945 to 1959, details a community forced to live at constant risk of blackmail or prison. Yet it also shows a thriving and joyous subculture, one that enriched a mainstream culture often ignorant of its debt to gay creators. Some Men In London is a testament to queer life, which was always much more complex than newspapers, governments and the Metropolitan Police Force imagined.

Some Men In London:
Queer Life, 1960-1967

This second volume, from 1960 to 1967, shows how key elements in British society gradually changed their views on homosexuality, resulting in the landmark 1967 act by which it was no longer considered a crime if it took place between adults in private. This did not end violence, discrimination and prejudice, but it at least ended official persecution.  Some Men in London is a testament to queer life and its thriving, joyous subculture – a subculture without which the 1960s would have been immeasurably impoverished.

Praise for Some Men In London

'Quite simply, this book is a work of genius'
—Matthew Parris, Spectator

bottom of page