Consultation on the wording of the Anne Lister plaque

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

on new wording for the Rainbow Plaque commemorating Anne Lister

In July 2018 we (York Civic Trust, The Churches Conservation Trust, York LGBT Forum and York LGBT History Month)  unveiled a plaque to celebrate the life and actions of Anne Lister.  The plaque was universally welcomed in principle; the wording on the plaque proved controversial and we immediately undertook to review that wording.Following meetings of the four partners, we now wish to put a suggested re-wording of the Anne Lister plaque to public consultation.

The original wording on the plaque was:

Anne Lister
1791-1840
Gender-nonconforming entrepreneur
Celebrated marital commitment, without legal recognition,
to Ann Walker in this church
Easter, 1834

 

 

Our suggested alternative wording is:

Anne Lister
1791-1840
of Shibden Hall, Halifax
Lesbian and Diarist
Took sacrament here to seal her union
with Ann Walker
Easter 1834

 

The plaque is intended to be a positive celebration of the union of Anne Lister and Ann Walker at Holy Trinity Goodramgate, Easter 1834.

The four partners have consulted historians and experts on the works of Anne Lister and have developed the alternative wording based on the following principles:

  • The plaque is a commemoration of Anne and Ann which is directly related to the taking of sacrament at Holy Trinity Church.
  • It reflects as accurately as possible Anne Lister’s own view of herself as evidenced in her diaries and letters.

We have clearly identified and agreed a process to allow the four partners to make the decision between retaining the original plaque or replacing it with the alternative plaque.  This public consultation is an important part of that process.  If the decision is have a new plaque, we will have this in place by Spring 2019.   The existing plaque will remain as a place holder until after this public consultation and the four partners’ decision has taken place.

We welcome your views on this decision.   Please register them on this Survey Monkey poll, which will close on Sunday 25 November 2018.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AnneListerPlaque

With thanks for your interest,

York Civic Trust
The Churches Conservation Trust
York LGBT Forum
York LGBT History Month

 

27 comments

    1. Anne Lister
      1791-1840
      of Shibden Hall, Halifax
      Lesbian Entrepreneur and Diarist
      Her union with Ann Walker was blessed here
      Easter 1834

  1. What a colossal waste of everyone’s time, and taxpayers money. Leave it as it is, there are bigger problems to worry about in York.

    1. There is no tax-payers’ money involved. York Civic Trust is an independent charity and receives no money from public sources.

  2. I think the change from ‘gender nonconfirming’ to ‘lesbian’ is a very good one. While the concept of someone being ‘gender nonconfirming’ is a nebulous one, the definition of lesbian as a woman who only loves other women is clear. It is clear that Lister satisfies it, writing in her diary “I love and only love the fairer sex” (January 1821). However, I do not support the removing of the word entrepreneur from the description. I think it is important to commemorate her activities as a businesswoman as a part of her life. Perhaps ‘Lesbian entrepreneur and diarist’?

  3. Celebrate Anne’s true life and actions. Resist lesbian erasure.

    Anne Lister
    1791-1840
    Lesbian, entrepreneur, and diarist.
    Took sacrament here, without legal recognition
    to seal her union with
    Ann Walker Easter, 1834

    1. There is no tax-payers’ money involved. York Civic Trust is an independent charity and received no money from public sources.

    2. There is no tax-payers’ money involved. York Civic Trust is an independent charity and receives no money from public sources.

  4. The older wording is more gracious but I prefer the new wording because it is clearer and reflects Anne Listers view of herself. It is also more relevant to the 21st century

  5. The alternative wording is a vast improvement reflecting the facts and not leading to confusion (consider, for example, a tourist with no prior knowledge of Ann Lister – they might, understandably, mistakenly think that she was a man who dressed as a woman from the ‘gender non-conforming’ description). Well done on the proposed change.

  6. This wording would be perfect :

    Anne Lister
    1791-1840
    Lesbian, entrepreneur, and diarist.
    Took sacrament here, without legal recognition
    to seal her union with
    Ann Walker Easter, 1834

  7. The proposed alternative wording is perfect. It’s essential to the memory of Anne Lister that she is proudly & clearly identified as lesbian.

  8. Anne Lister was a woman and a lesbian. The new wording acknowledges this, as it should do, and this is what should be adopted. Glad you’ve rethought this.

  9. I agree with the new wording– our recognition that gender is a construct is important for our time, but for Anne Lister, it was important to recognize her love and union with Ann Walker. And since she was a diarist, her own words would add the historical dimension: “I love and only love the fairer sex” (January 1821).

  10. The epithet ‘entrepreneur’ is important: her role as a businesswoman was as important to her (and inspiring to contemporary women) as her passion for women.
    The line “Took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker” is a massive improvement on the awful contortions of “Celebrated marital commitment, without legal recognition, to Ann Walker in this church”: apart from being mealy-mouthed, it’s a downer to have a negative (what the union *wasn’t*) in a plaque that’s meant to be celebratory.
    Subbing point: avoid the capital ‘D’ on diarist (it’s a description not a job title).

    Anne Lister
    1791-1840
    of Shibden Hall, Halifax
    Lesbian, entrepreneur and diarist
    Took sacrament here to seal her union
    with Ann Walker
    Easter 1834

  11. Resist lesbian erasure.

    Anne Lister
    1791-1840
    of Shibden Hall, Halifax
    Lesbian and Diarist
    Took sacrament here to seal her union
    with Ann Walker
    Easter 1834

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