Check out London’s monument to the late, great Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde, aged 27, photographed in New York City in 1882  (Public Domain)
Oscar Wilde, aged 27, photographed in New York City in 1882 (Public Domain)

This is the first in a series of articles about monuments from across the globe during pride season. From London to San Francisco to Lima, there is a growing number that celebrate our past and give us hope for the future.

One of the things that London visitors love is it’s rich in history. Even though we can’t visit this pride season, we can certainly enjoy them from afar.

Some of its streets and most iconic buildings date back hundreds of years, and the city treasures and celebrate its dazzling heritage. This includes some of its most notable queer icons including the fearless Oscar Wilde.

If you’re a local who’s had to put their travel plans on hold or are planning a visit in the future, below are some monuments that just scream pride.

Related: Gay bars and clubs in London

A Conversation With Oscar Wilde is a sculpture depicting the famed novelist and playwright.

Born in Ireland in 1854, Wilde was to make London his home after studying at Oxford University. He found fame with his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and plays such as An Ideal Husband.

However, fame turned to infamy when he was prosecuted and found guilty of ‘sodomy’ and ‘gross indecency.’ The trumped-up charges came about after Wilde unsuccessfully tried to sue for libel the father of a young aristocrat with whom he had been having an affair. 

It was to be one of the most notorious trials of the Victorian age and ended with Wilde being sentenced to two years of hard labor. 

Wilde was released in 1897. Now an outcast from respectable society, he moved to France, where he was to die two years later, aged 46.

His final years were told in the 2018 Rupert Everett movie, The Happy Prince

 
 
 
 
 
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This 1998 sculpture is by Maggi Hambling. The lesbian artist inscribed the sculpture, which is part-bench and party-bust, allowing a sitter to have a conversation with the late, queer icon. It is inscribed with a line from one of his most famous plays (Lady Windemere’s Fan): “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”

It can be found at the bottom of Adelaide Street, where it joins Duncannon Street, in Charing Cross, WC2. It’s located is close to Charing Cross Police Station, where Wilde was first taken upon his arrest. 

It’s also a stone’s throw from superclub, G-A-Y, where, with any luck, we will dance again.