Gilbert & Gordon: Then All The World Could See How in Love We Are

Gilbert & Gordon: Then All The World Could See How In Love We Are was a public participation project inspired by love letters exchanged between two WWII soldiers, Oswestry-based Gunner Gilbert Bradley and Infantryman Gordon Bowsher. The project sought to recognise and celebrate the diversity of love within our communities in 2017 by creating a commemorative diamond ring from the ashes of burned love letters written by members of the public.

What happened?

Over the summer of 2017, letter-writing workshops were held across Shropshire, with hundreds of people around the world contributing letters to the project. Over the festival weekend these letters were burnt in a special memorial post box, with ceremonies to light and extinguish the flame attended by Caroline Page, Oswestry’s Mayor, The Superintendent of Liverpool police and family and friends of Gilbert and Gordon. The first 200 people who posted their letters into the fire were given a special commemorative badge from a competition-winning design by PC Lee Hearne.

The artists: Created by Olivia Winteringham and KILN Ensemble

What next?

In February 2018 a special tea dance was held, alongside a public ceremony to present the ring to Oswestry Town Museum.  Designed by Ami Pepper, the diamond ring will be displayed in the museum’s exhibition for ‘all the world to see’.   This event brought together community groups from across the region, as well as friends and family of Gilbert and Gordon and the organisers of Shrewsbury LGBT History festival.  The response was overwhelming and we’re delighted that so many letters were contributed, there was enough ash to also create these special pencils.

We hope the ring serves as a symbol of the diversity of love experienced in 2017 and a tribute to the love that Gilbert and Gordon, and many like them, were never legally allowed to express in their lifetimes.