Maurice Dobson: Yorkshire LGBT history at York Explore

Kit Heyam2017, Events, National Festival0 Comments

Over the next two weeks we’ll be sharing details of some of the FREE public talks coming to York Explore on Saturday 11th February, just to whet your appetite! Check out the full programme on our events page.

    

At 10.30am, Stephen Miller of Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership will share a fascinating piece of Yorkshire LGBT history. Maurice Dobson was born in Wombwell, South Yorkshire, in 1912 and worked as miner before joining the army and serving in WW2.

After the war Maurice moved back South Yorkshire with his partner Fred Halliday and they lived as an openly gay couple from the early 1950s until Fred died in 1988. Together they ran a small grocers shop, an integral part of the local community. When Maurice died he left his shop and collections to the people of Darfield to create a museum in his name.

Stephen’s presentation will include a short documentary film of people sharing their memories of Maurice followed by an exploration of how a small ex-mining village in South Yorkshire has told the story for over 15 years. Maurice was never universally accepted by the community and the current interest in him has led to questions about his legacy.

The story is still relatively unknown and raises many questions, how was Maurice able to avoid criminal proceedings? What does it tell us about coal-mining communities’ tolerance of difference? How should the story be told locally and nationally?

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Kit Heyam

Kit is the lead coordinator of York LGBT History Month. He is a postgraduate teaching assistant and PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, working on a thesis entitled ‘Literary and historical representations of Edward II and his favourites, c.1305-1700’. Over the period 2014-16 he developed and coordinated York LGBT History Month’s school outreach programme, as well as delivering talks on his academic research. Kit is also a Library Services Assistant at Leeds Beckett University, where he campaigns as part of the Rainbow Rose Forum and has delivered trans awareness training to a number of university departments.

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