Gay’s the Word Bookshop Author Events – July 2013


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Gay’s the Word Bookshop

Author Events


Ballad of Captain Rigby

with Peter Daniels, Rictor Norton, Peter Forster and Jan Pimblett

Thursday July 4th, 7pm – £2

Venue: Gay’s the Word bookshop, 66 Marchmont Street London WC1N 1AB – Russell Square Tube

Join us at Gay’s the Word for an evening of bawdy verse and Eighteenth century homosexual scandal, with poet Peter Daniels, artist Peter Forster, historian Rictor Norton and archivist Jan Pimblett.

Peter Daniels wrote the frankly filthy and historically accurate “Ballad of Captain Rigby” in spring 2012 as the Write Queer London poet in residence at the London Metropolitan Archives, where the court records include the prosecution of Rigby for attempted sodomy in 1698.

Captain Edward Rigby was tried for sodomy in 1698, after falling foul of a honey trap sprung by a branch of the then newly formed Societies for the Reformation for Manners. This network of self appointed Moral guardians sprang fully formed from the maw of Tower Hamlets and quickly overtook London with an outpost in each of her quarters looking out for vice and wrong doing.

Captain Rigby was already on their list as earlier that year he had been tried and acquitted for sodomy, an outcome that was not pleasing to Reverend Thomas Bray, a leading member of the Societies for Reformation of Manners. Accordingly this gentleman worked out a plan whereby a servant of one of his parishoners, previously identified as a favourite of Rigby’s, was sent to lure the Captain into a compromising position.

Poem Extract:

Come gentlemen of certain tastes
beware young men who’d trick ye,
for I will tell you all the tale
of Captain Edward Rigby.

Ned Rigby was a navy man,
the captain of the Dragon;
his famous ways with seamen
were a kind you may imagine…

The detailed evidence in the case is of great value for historians in showing attitudes and activities of gay men at a time when a subculture in London was well developed, and was facing moral crusades like the one that set up Rigby’s arrest with the 19-year-old William Minton.

Event entry £2 – complimentary refreshments. Just turn up!

The artist Peter Forster has worked for many prestigious clients, and he has also produced his own satirical cards. Peter Daniels asked him to illustrate the limited edition pamphlet of Captain Rigby because his drawings and engravings are often inspired by the period, and very funny. Peter Forster will show his drawings and say more about his influences, and Peter Daniels will perform the ballad itself. Rictor Norton and Jan Pimblett will provide some historical context.


Bette Bourne to unveil plaque to Fanny & Stella 

Wednesday July 10th, 2pm

You are cordially invited to attend the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate Ernest Boulton & Frederick Park, aka ‘Stella & Fanny’, the celebrated Victorian cross-dressers who lodged at former number 13 Wakefield Street (now United Reformed Church House) from 1868 to 1870. The plaque will be unveiled by none other than Bette Bourne, actor, drag-performer and activist, who will also be joined by biographer and journalist Neil McKenna, author of Fanny and Stella – The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England, published by Faber & Faber.

The unveiling will take place at United Reformed Church House in Wakefield Street, London, WC1, (close to GTW bookshop, we’ll be heading over at 1.45pm) on Wednesday, 10th July 2013 from 2.00pm – please assemble in Wakefield Street  from 1.50pm  

Full details of the Marchmont Association’s respected commemorative plaques scheme may be found on their web site:



Many thanks

Gay’s The Word Bookshop
66,  Marchmont Street

Tel: 0207 278 7654

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