When April met Winston

Besi Besemar June 15, 2014

New photograph to go on display in April Ashley exhibition in Liverpool.

April Ashley
April Ashley

A new photograph showing April Ashley meeting Sir Winston Churchill has gone on display at the Museum of Liverpool.

This rare press image has been included in the universally praised April Ashley: Portrait of a lady exhibition, which has recently been extended to run until, December 7 2014.

The photograph, showing April and Winston meeting for the first time in April 1964, has been re-discovered in time to mark 50 years since the event took place.

Both April and Sir Winston were attending the last matinee performance of Fata Morgana at the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon, which starred Churchill’s daughter Sarah in the role of Mathilde. The photograph was taken just months before Churchill’s last illness before he passed away in January 1965.

April meet Winston

In the photo Sarah Churchill can be seen on Sir Winston’s left, along with actor David Hemmings behind Churchill and Ellen Pollock who directed the show is in the centre.

April wrote in her biography, about the meeting: “I was so glad – even if only for a moment – I’d met someone who’d been such an important part of history. As children, we had been brought up with two gods: God and Winston Churchill”.

Tony Singleton, who also worked on Fata Morgana at the Ashcroft, recently unearthed the photograph in one of his treasured memory boxes.

April Ashley: Portrait of a lady opened at the Museum of Liverpool in September 2013, to tell the story of April Ashley – one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery – and the history of transgender people in Britain over the past 70 years.

Curated by Homotopia in partnership with National Museums Liverpool, the exhibition draws on April Ashley’s previously unseen photographic archive and personal documents to investigate the wider impact of changing social and legal conditions for all transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual people from 1935 to today.

The photograph of April and Sir Winston went on display in time for the Un-straight Museum conference at the Museum of Liverpool from 13 – 14 June. This international conference, organised by Homotopia and National Museums Liverpool, explored the role of cultural institutions, curators and archivists in representing marginalised communities and promoting diversity.

The conference addressed the under representation of LGBT heritage in mainstream public spaces and showcased examples of ground-breaking work where hidden histories are being uncovered and presented.

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