The UK AIDS Memorial Quilt is an irreplaceable piece of social history. It tells the stories of many of those lost in the early days of the HIV AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s. The quilt has been in storage for several years now and without proper conservation is in danger of deteriorating and being lost. Hence a number of charities have come forward to create the AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership, to raise awareness of the quilt, its importance in our history and to restore and conserve the quilt for generations to come.
The quilt is a unique historical document.
In total there are 48 twelve foot by twelve foot panels, each comprising up to 8 smaller panels. Each panel is approximately 4m sq. Each individual panel commemorates someone who died of AIDS and has been lovingly made by their friends, lovers or family. Lives remembered include those of the writer, Bruce Chatwin; the artist/film maker Derek Jarman; the actors, Ian Charleson and Denham Elliot; gay rights activist, Mark Ashton and the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
In addition, emotive testimonials, photos, and personal documents that tell the story behind the panel accompany many of the quilt panels.
The quilts represent approximately 384 people from all around the UK. Each of the panels tells a story – many have their own folder that is a personal tribute to the people being commemorated, containing photographs and letters.
The Quilt reminds us how far we’ve come in the fight against HIV – it no longer has to stop you living a long and healthy life – but there is still much to be done.
Charities involved (collectively called: UK AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership)
- George House Trust
- Terrence Higgins Trust
- The Food Chain
- Sahir House
- Positively UK
- Positively East