Rainbow Plaque

Black Lesbian & Gay Centre

On Sunday, 18 February 2024, in the presence of former staff and supporters, London’s newest Rainbow Plaque honouring The Black Lesbian & Gay Centre in Peckham was unveiled.

Rainbow Plaques is a national scheme organised by the London LGBT+ Forums Network and Studio Voltaire that identifies hidden and lost LGBTQIA+ heritage, whilst highlighting the importance of queer visibility in our streets and public spaces. The new Rainbow Plaque in Peckham is the third of five to be installed across the capital in celebration of significant people, places and moments in LGBTQIA+ history.

Established in Haringey in 1985, the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre (BLGC) was set up by a group of activists with the aim of providing vital support for Black Queer communities. The BLGC’s original definition of Black was inclusive and included those descended through one or both parents from Africa, Asia, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the original inhabitants of Australasia, North America and the islands of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Against the backdrop of 1980s politics, the rise of Thatcherism and HIV and AIDS, the centre played a groundbreaking role in the struggle for LGBTQIA+ equality. The centre raised awareness and challenged homophobia and racism in wider society by providing advice, counselling, a helpline, a library, newsletters, social and cultural events, and community resources, and though based in London, the project reached people nationwide.

After many years of fundraising, the project found a permanent home in a converted railway arch in Peckham in 1992, where the Rainbow Plaque is now installed. Before the Peckham centre closed in 1995, the BLGC supported groundbreaking events and activities. They supported the ‘Fifth International Lesbian and Gay People of Colour Conference’ and partnered with Brent HIV Centre to deliver HIV/AIDS outreach work to Asian women in the borough. The BLGC produced ‘Black by popular demand’ as part of the annual Lesbian Strength and Gay Pride festivities and assisted with Haringey Black Action and Positive Images’ ‘Smash the Backlash’ march and protest against Section 28.

The first of its kind in Europe, The Black Lesbian and Gay Centre continues to serve as an essential inspiration for queer communities today.

This plaque is supported by Untold Stories, part of the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, with additional support from Wandsworth Oasis, and kind assistance from Peckhamplex and Network Rail.

Visiting Information

Bridge Underpass, next to 83 Bellenden Road, Peckham, SE15 4QJ.
The closest station is Peckham Rye (4 minutes).

Access Information

The artwork can be viewed at street level from the pavement.

  1. Initiated in 2018, Rainbow Plaques is an ongoing national scheme highlighting the importance of intersectional LGBTQIA+ visibility in our streets and public spaces. The programme was established by York Civic Trust and the York LGBT Forum to honour lesbian diarist Anne Lister (1791–1840). The programme builds upon existing work established by Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum and Studio Voltaire in creating permanent plaques for Oscar Wilde at Clapham Junction Station in 2019, the 1980s film classic, My Beautiful Laundrette, on Wilcox Road in 2021, 1990s coming-out and coming-of-age classic Beautiful Thing, at The Greenwich Tavern in 2023 and London Lighthouse, a ground-breaking residential and support centre for people living with HIV and AIDS, also in 2023.

  2. The London LGBT+ Forums’ Network is a collection of individual LGBTQIA+ forums, Prides and borough-based community groups from across Greater London. They exist to tackle issues of inequality within the public services and to be a voice for their members and LGBTQ+ residents as well as deliver projects that celebrate our shared culture and heritage.

    Twitter | @LondonLGBTNet

  3. Since its foundation in 1989, Wandsworth Oasis has provided support to - and challenged stigma towards - those living with HIV. Using revenue generated by their nine charity shops located in London, as well as fundraising events, they have given over £1 million in grants to HIV-related projects and organisations during the last ten years alone.


  4. Unveiling images courtesy of London LGBT+ Forum's Network and Studio Voltaire. Photography by Joel Ryder. Thumbnail image courtesy of Valerie Mason-John.

Studio Voltaire
1A Nelsons Row
London SW4 7JR

Open Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm.

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