UK’s largest collection of publicly accessible HIV/AIDS interviews reveal "deeply personal” testimonies
The largest collection of filmed interviews ever compiled about the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and ‘90s in the UK will be available for public access from this month.
The archive includes 100 in-depth interviews with members of the LGBTQ+ community and heterosexual people with HIV or AIDS, and haemophiliacs infected with contaminated blood, as well as doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, and is now preserved by the City of London Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).
The interviews chronicle individuals’ lives and experiences in the crisis conditions up to the advent to a treatment in 1996 and beyond, and they will be made available at the Clerkenwell-based archives from Thursday 23 February.
In total, 150 hours of collated filmed testimony – by turns, harrowing, shocking, and insightful – is the result of six years’ work by National HIV Story Trust (NHST) and LMA archivists for the benefit of healthcare professionals, social historians, researchers, educators, and the public.
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde, said:
“This remarkable archive of deeply personal testimony will be invaluable to anyone wanting to know more about the dreadful and far-reaching impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and we owe a considerable debt of gratitude to everyone involved in this major project.
“So many people deserve our thanks, in particular, the interviewees who relived their hugely painful memories; the National HIV Story Trust, which entrusted this oral history to us; and our archivists at London Metropolitan Archives for their hard work and dedication to make this happen.”
Chair and Co-founder of National HIV Story Trust, Paul Coleman, said:
“The history of HIV and AIDS now spans four decades and yet, without recorded personal testimony, this was in danger of being forgotten, so we hope that the archive will prove invaluable to anyone wishing to understand the story of HIV and AIDS from a 360 degree perspective.
“The extraordinary personal experiences of all those touched by the HIV and AIDS pandemic that go to make this archive are now both preserved for future generations, and to inform the present.
“The NHST, working alongside LMA, is proud to have ensured that this amazing generation of people can never be 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 £130m every year.
Notes to editors
NB: Head of Digital Services at London Metropolitan Archives, Laurence Ward, and Chair and Co-founder, National HIV Story Trust, Paul Coleman, are available for interview. Several individuals who were interviewed and who have waived their anonymity are available for interview. Excerpts from a range of interviews are also available to media outlets on request.
For further information, excerpts from the filmed interviews, and requests for interviews with spokespeople and those interviewed for the archive, please contact Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, and Heritage), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 / firstname.lastname@example.org
About the City of London Corporation:
The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, 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 – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
About London Metropolitan Archives:
London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is the archive repository for the Greater London area. The documents and books that LMA cares for, and provides access to, date from 1067 to the present day and collections are constantly expanding. The archives are free to use, as are the majority of resources in the public research rooms.
London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB https://search.lma.gov.uk
London Metropolitan Archives is open to visitors at the following times:
- Monday - 10am to 4pm
- Tuesday - 10am to 4pm
- Wednesday - 10am to 7pm
- Thursday - 10am to 4pm
- Saturdays - 11 February, 11 March - 10am to 4pm - please note that documents must be ordered in advance
- (Closed on Bank Holidays - check the website for full details)
About National HIV Story Trust:
The National HIV Story Trust (NHST) was established as a repository of real life stories, to preserve the history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, remembering the stories of tragedy, but also those of love, compassion and humanity. The lessons from the pandemic remain as pertinent today as they did in the 80s/90s. The NHST hopes the 100+ interviews filmed with survivors and victims’ families, partners and medical professionals, will be a voice for those who didn’t survive, a chance to honour those who did, and an education for those who live so freely today because of this generational struggle.