Part of the largest community arts project in history, the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt helps us remember and celebrate all lives lost to HIV from the beginning of the pandemic in the 1980s to the present day.
Launched on World AIDS Day 2023, the Google Arts & Culture page is the digital home of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt. Explore the quilt close up and hear the stories of people remembered.
You will find all the details we hold about each panel that makes up the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt in our gallery.
For the first time since the 1990s the entire collection of Quilts was displayed in single venue in London.
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The Quilt contains memories and stories of more than 380 individuals who died during the 1980s and 90s at a time when effective treatment for HIV was not available. We remember and celebrate their lives here.
We made Vaughan’s quilt panel at his friend Paul’s flat. A group of us had various artefacts of Vaughan’s that represented his life and personality. I haven’t seen the panel since we made it in 1991 or 1992 so to see it again will be wonderful. Thinking about the panel recently makes me realise just how much time has passed. Seeing the panel in the iconic setting of St Paul’s will be magnificent, Vaughan would be very proud. It will be a very emotional day.
Dr Gill Brigg
My younger brother Mark was charming, charismatic and flamboyant – he died aged 26. He was diagnosed with AIDS in the late 1980’s, at the time he was in a relationship with David and they lived happily in Catford South London. Shortly after he was diagnosed he was admitted into the Dulwich Hospital around 1990/91 – the Elton John Aids Foundation funded HIV support at the time at Dulwich Hospital. During a visit Elton spent time talking with Mark and later sent Mark a huge bunch of white roses – Mark was delighted.
Mark died on 11th February 1987 – I didn’t smile for 3 months. Mark, together with Mike Jackson, set up Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners that raised funds to help families affected by the miners strike in 1984/5. A fundraising concert called pits and perverts was held in December1984 and raised almost £20,000. The story was made into a film, Pride, in 2014 and gained worldwide success. His death changed my life and after hearing of other young men who were dying in such horrendous ways I decided, in 1990, to volunteer at London Lighthouse Whilst at the Lighthouse I took part in and helped to run weekly workshops to make quilt panels. We had heard of the Names Project in the US and decided to start a UK project. Making the panels helped in the grieving process for friends and partners of those we lost.
I wanted the panel to symbolise the many aspects of Virgil’s life. Virgil was a Christian Minister so the Cross is the main focus. There is also a pink triangle to represent Vigil’s activism and the words ‘Dancing with Angels’ is something I found scribbled in a book in Virgil’s handwriting. I attended the Manchester George House Trust HIV/AIDS Candlelit Vigil in 2014. Waiting for the event to begin the stage lights were so low you couldn’t see what was hanging at the back. Once the lights were up I saw the panel I had made for Virgil. It was like a bolt of lightning and he was with me once again. Seeing my husbands quilt displayed in 2014 was the most wonderful experience. The memory still brings tears to my eyes.
The AIDS epidemic and the appalling number of lives taken by it was all too often portrayed in the media as being about a faceless mass of unknown people. In truth, of course, it was an all too large patchwork of individual stories; of real people with names and lives, with loved ones and families and careers and talents never quite allowed to reach fruition. How better to represent that than through the AIDS quilt, which gives individuality back to so many people who risked becoming mere statistics? It is both work of art and a vital social document, and I wholeheartedly give my support to the coalition of charities and its ceaseless work to make sure the quilt finds the home it so richly deserves
If you would like to put a Quilt or Quilts on display in a venue in your area, please contact us and we will do our best to help make that happen.