Celebrating the histories of Edinburgh's LGBT communities.

Remember When

edinburgh lesbian gay bisexual transgender history

A joint initiative between the City of Edinburgh Council and the Living Memory Association.

The RW project was an oral and community history project which documented the lives and achievements of Edinburgh's LGBT people, past and present.

Cecil Sinclair Ellen and Brian
…this is
no small achievement

The project recorded the stories of a wide range of Edinburgh's LGBT communities and showed how the LGBT people have continually made a distinctive and valuable contribution to life in Edinburgh. By recording their experiences the contributors to this project have ensured that the long history of the LGBT community in the city can no longer be denied or kept hidden. And this is no small achievement.

Who said history had to be 100% heterosexual?

The Exhibition

Between July 2004 and July 2006 the Remember When project created a landmark exhibition exploring the colourful, complex, and richly varied history of LGBT life in Edinburgh. We developed the permanent archive dedicated to preserving this heritage, to be held within the social history collections of the City of Edinburgh, and encouraged LGBT people to share their experiences and communicate across the generations, via publication, creative workshops and community events.

The Book

Within the span of a single generation, the lives of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Edinburgh have been transformed beyond all recognition. Dramatic changes in social attitudes and in the law have brought what was once a hidden, marginalised community out into the light.

This secret world may not be secret anymore, but it is essential that the stories and memories of the remarkable people within it are not forgotten. For this reason, over 150 people from Edinburgh's LGBT communities - ranging in age from 18 to 80 - came together to create the Remember When Project, an archive of oral history interviews, photographs and memorabilia recording over half a century of LGBT life in Scotland's capital.

Rainbow City tells the story of this landmark project. Through the fascinating, moving, and often highly entertaining words of its contributors, it paints a picture of how LGBT Edinburgh has emerged from centuries of silence to reclaim its history and speak for itself.

'... truly, it's breathtaking... what they have achieved is remarkable. Rainbow City is a valuable and lasting document - the Remember When team have accomplished something to really be proud of' Nine, The Skinny Magazine
'What great stories. What a communal force of voices. What a revelation of what a city really is. It's not just an incredibly important book, a crucial one in its remapping of Edinburgh, its revelation of the layerings of time, history, politics, its proper redefinition of the word community, and the force of love that, combined with all of these, fought to bring about equality. On top of all that, it's a tremendously good and moving read.' Ali Smith

This project was made possible thanks to funding from the following sources: Heritage Lottery Fund, City of Edinburgh Council and Lesbian & Gay Switchboard.