Gilbert & Gordon: Then All The World Could See How In Love We Are
We’ve been commissioned by Heritage Open Days as part of LGBTQ, Unsung Stories to create a new art work inspired the love between two soldiers who served in the Second World War.
Olivia Winteringham in collaboration with Oswestry Town Museum with support from the Shrewsbury LGBT History Festival
Gilbert & Gordon: Then All The World Could See How In Love We Are is a public participation project that takes its title and inspiration from love letters exchanged between two WWII soldiers, Oswestry-based Gunner Gilbert Bradley and Infantryman Gordon Bowsher. The project seeks to recognise and celebrate the diversity of love within our communities in 2017 by creating a commemorative diamond ring from the ashes of burned love letters written by members of the public. In 2018 following a public ceremony the ring will be presented to Oswestry Town Museum to be displayed in the museum’s exhibition for ‘all the world to see’. We hope the ring will serve as a symbol of the diversity of love experienced in 2017 and a tribute to the love Gilbert and Gordon, and many like them, were never legally allowed to express in their lifetimes.
Here’s the BBC’s coverage of the project. 76 year old Maureen burned the love letter she wrote to her husband in 1961
— Oswestry Town Museum (@OswestryMuseum) September 10, 2017
Timetable of key events during Heritage Open Days
All at Oswestry Town Museum, Bailey Head, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 1PZ
- Thursday 7th September at 12.00: Flame Lighting Ceremony by retired Flight Lieutenant Caroline Paige the first openly transgender officer to serve in the British Armed Forces
- Saturday 9th September 14.00-15.30: See the letters up close and personal with a talk from curator Mark Hignett, Oswestry Town Museum
- Sunday 10th September at 19.41: Flame Extinguishing Ceremony
Want to know more about Gordon’s love letters? Here’s Mark’s talk recorded in the museum. Want to know more about why Gordon wanted ‘all my letters destroyed’ and what life was like postwar for gay men in places like Shrewsbury, listen to Peter Roscoe’s talk.
Send us your love letters
Feel inspired but can’t make it to Oswestry this September? We invite you to add your particular and wonderfully unique experience of love to the commemorative diamond. Click the link here for further inspiration and a special digital letter template to compose your love letter right now, right here. Or post direct to Oswestry Town Museum, 1 Bailey Head, Oswestry, SY11 1PZ (ref: Gilbert & Gordon Love Letters) for Sunday 10th September.
Images: Gilbert Bradley and Gordon Bowsher’s Letters, Love letter writing, Charlotte Phillips, Geoff Hardy and Peter Roscoe