Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales has acquired a collection of objects that offers “an unrivalled snapshot into gay life” in Wales from the 1930s to 2011.
The collection of photograph albums, slide and documents all relate to Reg Mickisch and George Walton, a gay couple who met in 1949 and were together for more than 60 years. They moved to rural Wales in 1972, not long after the decriminalisation of homosexuality. In 2006 they had a civil partnership, the first in the town of Machynlleth.
The couple died within a few months of each other in 2011, and left their property and belongings to their friends, Mike Parker and his partner Peredur, who have donated the objects to Amgueddfa Cymru. Mike Parker has also written a book about the men, On the Red Hill: Where Four Lives Fell Into Place.
“When Reg and George died, their astonishing archive of photos, paintings, diaries and letters were as exciting to me as the lovely old house that they left us,” Parker said.
“They were such extraordinary men, and I didn’t want them just to vanish. That urge became On the Red Hill, and now it will become an archive lodged forever in the national collection at Amgueddfa Cymru. Reg and George would be amazed and absolutely thrilled.”
This collection is now in the process of being catalogued and digitised.
Mark Etheridge, the curator of LGBTQ+ history at Amgueddfa Cymru, said: “This is a significant acquisition, and it will form an important part of the national collection which will help us to tell the story of LGBTQ+ people living in Wales.
“It is important that LGBTQ+ stories become part of the national memory, ensuring that future generations will be able to learn about LGBTQ+ history and culture in Wales.”