What the Papers Say
Freelance archivist Jane Speller writes:
Two collections of scrapbooks immediately intrigued me when I began cataloguing the Sahir House Archive. Meticulously put together by Bob Silcock, and Michael Egerton, the press and magazine cuttings chart the coverage of HIV and AIDS in local, regional and national press from 1983-1999, giving a vivid insight into how those most affected by HIV: gay men, injection drug users, and immigrants, were among the most stigmatised populations in British society.
Early headlines such as, ‘Pubs ban gays in AIDS scare’ (1985), ‘’Wrath of God’ theory repugnant, says bishop’ (1986), ‘African AIDS ‘deadly threat to Britain’’ (1986), ‘AIDS victim in tomb of concrete’ (1986), ‘Male prostitutes in AIDS ‘revenge sex’’ (1986), ‘No Room for AIDS patients’ (1987), ‘AIDS victims should be locked up’ (1987), were common place. People with AIDS wrestled not only with the ravages of their own illness but also with society’s prejudices.
The cuttings also document the trial of drugs such as AZT; work in schools to challenge homophobia, as well as the establishment of needle exchanges and phone help lines.
So a big thanks to Bob and Michael for documenting this important chapter in our history; and to any budding scrapbookers out there, please keep collecting! After centuries of invisibility, we need our history to be recorded and made visible.