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Swarthmore Education Centre

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Leeds Library & Information Services
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MIL 47/26
Swarthmore Education Centre
13th October 1999 View of Swarthmore Education Centre in Woodhouse Square. It moved initially to number 4 in 1919 but now occupies numbers 2 to 7. No. 6 Woodhouse Square was home to wealthy philanthropist Ellen Heaton, her blue plaque reads - '(1816-94) Lived in 6 Woodhouse Square from 1859-94. She was an influential Pre-Raphaelite art patron and an active campaigner for women's rights, education, health, environmental issues and anti-vivisection. Her friend, the poet Christina Rossetti, stayed here'. Swarthmore Education Centre has welcomed LGBT+ groups for decades. Between 1973 and 1994, it was the meeting place of the Leeds branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, whose activities involved lobbying MPs and supporting protest work. A mixed group, with male and female members, they also held discos at Swarthmore. It’s this social side that has kept the group going to the present day, when they still meet, as of 2020, under the name Leeds Gay Community at the premises of Yorkshire MESMAC. Swarthmore is also the rehearsal space of Gay Abandon, one of the country’s longest-running LGBT choirs, founded in 1999. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/friend-a-1970s-telephone-helpline-in-leeds/full-interview

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