Southwark Lib Dems call for rainbow plaque to commemorate last men executed for sodomy on Blackfriars Road

4 Apr 2024
Blackfriars Road

Cllr Victor Chamberlain, leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrats, has called for a memorial and rainbow plaque on Blackfriars road to commemorate James Pratt and John Smith, the last men executed for sodomy in England.

In 1835, James Pratt and John Smith, from Christchurch in Southwark, became the last men to be executed for sodomy in England after being arrested on Blackfriars Road.

Both Pratt and Smith were pardoned by the Alan Turing Law in January 2017 which gave posthumous pardons for those convicted of homosexuality offenses.

Cllr Chamberlain said James Pratt and John Smith represented a “harrowing but important part of LGBTQ+ history for Southwark, London and the UK.”

Writing to Southwark Heritage Cllr Chamberlain asked for a rainbow plaque to be installed to commemorate their conviction and execution on Blackfriars Road, where they were arrested.

Rainbow plaques have been installed around London to commemorate significant places, people and events in LGBTQ+ history, such as the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre in Peckham.

Commenting, leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrats and member for Borough & Bankside ward Cllr Victor Chamberlain said:

“James Pratt and John Smith represent a harrowing but important part of LGBTQ+ history in Southwark, London and the UK. We have come so far. Last year we held our first Southwark Pride event, and I was immensely proud to help make it happen.

A rainbow plaque to remember James and John will commemorate the importance of their story to our community and celebrate the progress we have made. I hope Southwark Heritage, the council and the Mayor of London will work with me to make it happen.”

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