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Kenric: a social network for lesbians

A new and exciting addition to London Metropolitan Archives' holdings is the archive of Kenric, the longest established national organisation which offers a social network to lesbians throughout the United Kingdom. The organisation established in 1965, grew out of the Minorities Research Group (Surrey and South West section) and the name Kenric, was chosen since members at the time came from Kensington and Richmond. Sally Bevan takes a closer look at its history and archives.

This aim of the group was to set up a purely social group which would have no political campaigning or affiliations in order to 'remedy the sense of isolation experienced by many lesbians, by arranging  meetings, discussions and other activities' and 'to educate public opinion  and improve knowledge on the subject of lesbianism'.

An annually elected management committee was formed by the first five members in 1965, and in 1966 the first newsletter was issued. The newsletters provide a monthly calendar of events open to members including lunches, talks and debates held in central London on subjects such as 'Is there such a thing as a lesbian?' by Mary McIntosh and 'Writing the Microcosm' by Maureen Duffy (1967) as well as a wealth of articles such as Jane Traies's 2015 article 'Lesbians Over 60 Speak Out'.

Many activities were organised at members' homes and regular Kenric Socials were held at the Gateway Club in West London. By 1968 the organisation was well established and members were joining from as far afield as Yorkshire and County Durham. Members had to be over 21 to join, however this was reduced to 18 in 1970 and 16 in 1999.

In 1984 the constitution was re-drafted as the organisation sought to change with the times, cater for the organisation's younger membership and encourage new women to join. As the organisation became truly national and with a wider age range, subgroups developed around commonalities of location, age and status (Over 40s Group, Kenric Mothers' Group, Kent and District Subgroup) rather than shared hobbies, and the 1980s saw the demise of the literary, music and dramatic groups which had been so popular in Kenric's early days.

The organisation continues to grow and more information can be found on the Kenric website.

Archive

The Kenric archive deposited at LMA (ref B16/071) includes Chair's papers, constitution and procedures, committee minutes, correspondence, accounts, ledgers, promotional items and photographs.

As the material is currently in the process of being catalogued it is only available for consultation by prior appointment via LMA Enquiries.

Published:
20 October 2016
Last Modified:
02 December 2019

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