Rainbow Plaque

Oscar Wilde

Twenty years in the making, The Oscar Wilde Temple by McDermott & McGough was a wholly immersive work of art and secular space honouring one of the earliest forebears of gay liberation whilst commemorating contemporary LGBTQ+ martyrs and those lost to the AIDS crisis.

During The Oscar Wilde Temple, Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum and Studio Voltaire collaborated on a campaign to produce a permanent plaque in memory of Oscar Wilde’s passage through Clapham Junction Station.

McDermott & McGough use the lens of Wilde’s legacy to make visible the traumatic history of queer identity while directly addressing the continuing inequalities faced by LGBTQ+ communities. Their work frequently addresses the homoerotic aspects of Victorian culture, while simultaneously acknowledging the oppressive politics of the period.

Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour following his conviction for “gross indecency with men”. From 2 to 2.30 pm on 20 November 1895, Wilde was forced to stand, handcuffed and in convict dress, on the ‘centre platform’ at Clapham Junction station whilst being transported to Reading Gaol. He was soon recognised and became the object of jeering, spitting and abuse as a crowd gathered around him. Wilde was so traumatised by the humiliating event that he wept at the same time and for the same length of time every day for a year afterwards. He writes about this in ‘De Profundis’, his autobiographical letter written to his partner Lord Alfred Douglas in 1897.

The rainbow plaque was unveiled by Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum, Studio Voltaire and Network Rail in July 2019. With thanks to Leander Architectural, Russell Tovey, the Mayor of Wandsworth Jane Cooper, The Oscar Wilde Society and all of those who made it possible through generous public donations.

This programme is generously supported by The Mayor of London’s Untold Stories Fund as part of his Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, with additional support from Wandsworth Oasis.

Visiting Information

Platform 10, Clapham Junction Station, SW11 2QP.
The closest station is Clapham Junction.

Access Information

The artwork can be viewed from the platform.

  1. The London LGBT+ Forums Network is a collection of individual LGBTQ+ 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.

Studio Voltaire
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