City of London Corporation archives awarded grant for preserving HIV / AIDS collections

London Metropolitan Archives has been awarded a major grant by the Wellcome Trust to support its Positive history: preserving the archives of HIV/AIDS: care and testimony project.

Three recently acquired archive collections held by LMA will be made available by the project to highlight two important threads of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and its devastating aftermath:

  • pioneering medical treatment, care and support; and
  • lived experience of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and how their diagnoses impacted upon their families, partners, friends, and carers

The collections comprise 4,000 patient case files from the Mildmay Hospital archives; over 100 interviews of people with AIDS, their families, partners, and carers, filmed by the ‘AIDS Since the 80s’ project (now, National HIV Story Trust); and the archive of support charity Positively UK (formerly, Positively Women).

Anyone wishing to consult the collections will be offered access to online catalogues to item level of all three archives; a research database of information from the Mildmay Hospital case files; and digital access to the 150 hours of filmed interviews.

The Mildmay Hospital patient case files and other material containing personal information about named individuals will be restricted, in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 2018. Bona fide academic researchers will be allowed tailored access to this material with permission, on condition that individuals are not identified. All other material will be publicly available, including the AIDS since the 80s-filmed interviews, which form a substantial part of the project’s collections.

Wendy Hyde, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“London Metropolitan Archives is well-known and widely respected in its field for the extent of its collections and the diligence and expertise of its staff whom, I know, appreciate the significance of these newly acquired records.”

“It is abundantly clear that they will be of immense value to anyone researching the history of sexuality, science and medicine, so my colleagues and I are very grateful to the Wellcome Trust for supporting LMA’s work.”

Geoff Pick, Director of the City of London Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives, said:

“All too often, people at the heart of the HIV/AIDS epidemic were stigmatised, isolated and ignored, so the Wellcome Trust’s generous support of this project is crucial in ensuring that their lives will be remembered and their voices heard.

“Not only will these valuable archives form a central part of the history of London and Londoners preserved and made available at LMA, they will also provide a fuller picture of a period of profound societal challenge and change.”

Paul Coleman, Trustee and Founder of the National HIV Story Trust, said:

The NHST was formed to preserve the direct experiences of people who were affected by the AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s, and to make them readily accessible to people of our present generations.

“The Welcome Trust's support makes this a reality through the excellence of the LMA and will enshrine this period with a gravity that it deserves, and ensure that this important testimony is never forgotten.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate, a multi-million-pound initiative to create a new cultural and creative destination for London. As part of this, the City Corporation is providing a £197m investment in the new Museum of London, which will open in West Smithfield in 2024, and £6.8m to support the development of the proposed Centre for Music.


Notes for Editors:

Philippa Smith, Head of Collections at the City of London Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives; and Paul Coleman, Trustee and Founder of the National HIV Story Trust; are available for media interview. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for further details.

Media enquiries:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts & Culture), City of London Corporation

M: +44 (0) 7795 333060


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About the London Metropolitan Archives:

London Metropolitan Archives is a public research centre which specialises in the history of London. LMA cares for, and provides access to, the historical archives of businesses, schools, hospitals charities, and many other organisations in, and around, London. With over 100km of books, maps, photographs, films and documents dating back to 1067 in our strong rooms, it is proud to provide access to one of the finest city archives in the world. Its users have a wide range of research interests, including family, community and local history, and LMA also works with students, artists, producers, and architects.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB

Admission FREE. Nearest underground stations are Farringdon and Angel.