In the UK, a number of buildings are recognised as being of historical significance due to the people that lived there or events that took place there and of these some are commemorated by a Blue Plaque outside the building. We felt that to commemorate the wonderful LGBT history of Brighton it would be good to have a similar kind of recognition, albeit virtual, and out of that desire came Pink Plaques. Maybe one day there will be physical ones too ...
Pink Plaques is your own personal and expert tour guide, letting you peek under the skin of Brighton and Hove to uncover the extraordinary stories of its LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) past and present.
The app's content was written by Brighton's own Rose Collis (already well-known for The New Encyclopaedia of Brighton and her "Walkie Talkie" personal guided tours on which this app is based) and it allows you to delve into the city's LGBT past, even when Rose can't be there in person to guide you!
Pink Plaques isn't only a fascinating treat for residents of and visitors to Brighton and Hove but for anyone interested in the LGBT history of the UK's queerest city. After downloading Pink Plaques you will know about the hotel where Anne Lister had a dirty weekend, the pub at which a well known pop group's manager, Brian Epstein, quaffed and which gay bookstore owner was prosecuted for stocking 'obscene' material - even if you live far from this exciting city.
☞ Works with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
☞ Requires at least iPhone 6S or iPod touch (7th generation)
Pink Plaques comes with three themed tours: "Hotels", "Cafes and Shops" and "Pubs and Clubs", containing a total of 73 'plaques' each containing text by Rose Collis along with an accompanying photograph which can be enlarged for closer inspection. The photographs allow you to identify sites which may now look quite different from their heyday and addresses are provided as well.
The text accompanying each plaque's entry is written in Rose's own distinctive style with her enthusiasm for her material leading to remarks like these about her work:
"West Sussex Libraries had the great pleasure of working with Rose Collis during LGBT History Month 2012. It was an excellent event, with each section very well chosen for the evening and for the audience in mind."
"If you hear of a workshop near you that is run by Rose, then I recommend that you book early and go, you won't regret it. In the meantime, you can always dip into her books; like Rose herself, they sound absolutely fascinating."
"Talking to her at the close of another long day researching her latest biography, Rose enthuses passionately about her deceased subjects as though they were close friends - lovers almost."
Each plaque appears on the built-in map allowing investigation of those nearest you or a planned tour along the city's pavements taking in all its plaques (pausing for refreshment in many of the city's fine drinking establishments of course!). Many plaques have an accompanying website link that allows you to find out what's on offer there now, rather than 60 or more years ago!
You can also create your own personalised tour from the plaques provided by Rose. You may, for example, wish to create your own "Regency Tour", "Literary Tour" or "Seafront Tour" and add only those plaques that you choose. The map then offers the choice to show only the plaques included in your own tour. The app will give its best guesstimate of the time taken for each tour, taking into account your time spent at each plaque and your walking speed (configurable via Preferences) ... but it's definitely not an exact science. The latest app version offers integration with Apple Maps - tapping on the map image when viewing a plaque’s details will give you directions and a time to walk there from your current location.
The information for some plaques may simply be factual, but many of them contain intriguing and often surprising anecdotes about the lives of the city's famous residents and visitors and the places at which they stayed, and who they stayed with!
You may like to read more about related issues at UK LGBT History Month.
So there you have it, your own free fascinating tour of queer historical Brighton, and it's still for less than the price of a bad cappuccino.
All text and images contained in Pink Plaques are ©Rose Collis 2020 and reproduction (electronic or otherwise) is expressly forbidden.
Stories for 73 locations in the City of Brighton & Hove
Create your own personalised tours
Most app features available offline (not map or web sites)
Sort tours by name or estimated duration
Addresses and photographs for every location
Works in all orientations
Configurable tour duration calculations
Walking directions via Apple Maps
Satellite View option
All locations shown on the map
Choose between tour plaques from the map
Web links for many locations
Supports Apple's Dynamic Type
Dark Mode support
Built-in Help & Contact page
Surprises and fun are sure to be found
Will Pink Plaques run on my iPhone?
It runs on any device on which iOS 13 or higher has been installed.
Can I use Pink Plaques with no internet connection?
Certainly. You can see the the built-in help, the tours, their plaques, their addresses, description and photos - for all other features you need to be online.
How do I add my own tour?
Tap Browse on the tab bar if you are not already on the Browse screen then tap the '+', enter your new tour's title (and description if you need one) and tap Save. Your empty tour will be listed on the Browse screen accompanied by the User tour star icon.
How do I select the plaques that I want to include in my tour?
There are two ways to do this:
- On the Browse screen, tap the tour to which you wish to add plaques, tap Edit at the top right and then tap on those plaques that you would like to add. Tap a checked plaque to remove it from your tour. Tap Cancel to ignore your changes or Done to update your tour's plaques.
- When viewing an individual plaque, tap the '+' at the top right and then select the tour(s) to which you wish to add that plaque. Tap Cancel to ignore your changes or Save to add the current plaque to the checked tours.
Why is there a black triangle on the app icon?
In the concentration camps, the Nazis made homosexual men wear pink triangles, the origin of this now proud symbol of defiance. Less well known is that "asocial individuals" were forced to wear black triangles in the camps and this symbol was reclaimed in the 80s as a pride symbol by lesbians. This is why I chose to honour it on the app icon. See Wikipedia for more information.
How do I change the name of my own tour?
On the Browse screen, tap the circled ‘i’ for the tour whose name you want to edit and then update its name and or description. Tap Cancel to ignore your changes or Save to update.
How can I add the current plaque to a tour as the '+' icon is greyed out?
If the '+' is greyed out then this plaque is already part of all your tours. Add one or more new tours.
How do I find the plaques near to me?
Ensure location services are switched on in your device's settings. At present the app will not alert you when you are near a plaque, but will in indicate your current location on the map so it's fairly easy to find out. Alerts for nearby plaques may be in a later version ...
How can I find out how to get to a specific plaque?
On the detail page for a plaque, tap the map icon in the top right to launch Apple Maps which will give you directions and a time to walk to that plaque from your current location.
Is there a way to move quickly between a tour's plaques?
Yes - when viewing a plaque's details simply swipe left or right on the screen to move to the previous or next plaque. Swiping has no effect when the current plaque's details were arrived at via tapping a plaque on the map.
Is there an order to the list of plaques?
Yes - they are approximately geographical from the West to the East of Brighton, but it can be tricky to decide sometimes!
How is the estimate for the tour duration calculated?
Tap the Settings icon for your iOS device and select the Preferences for Pink Plaques where you can adjust the number of minutes you intend to spend visiting each plaque and also your walking speed to Relaxed, Average or Brisk. If you don't change these they are initially set at 5 minutes and 'Average'. You can set the time spent at each plaque to a maximum of 20 minutes.
Pink Plaques uses these two pieces of information to 'guesstimate' the tour duration by determining the distance between the tour's two plaques which are the furthest apart and then adding in the duration of the stop for each plaque. Your current location is not considered. This may not be that close to your actual time but using the map and viewing all your selected tour's plaques should provide you with a reasonable idea as well. Generally, I would regard the offered duration as a minimum. A future version may be much more intelligent and accurate.
Can I enlarge a plaque's accompanying photograph?
Yes. Tap the photograph and then you will be able to manipulate it in the usual way. Tap the full screen image to remove the screen’s top bar and do the same to reinstate it. Don't forget that you can also turn your device to landscape orientation which suits some photographs better.
Does Pink Plaques run on iPad?
Yes, it now runs natively on iPad in full or split screen as well as slide over.
Why don't all plaques have a web link?
Many plaques detail places which no longer exist or have been converted into private homes and a web site link is simply not possible. If you know of a plaque where details are available on the internet then we would love to know so please send us the URL.
Why is the map icon on the toolbar greyed out for the plaque I'm looking at?
If you arrive at a plaque's detail page via the map, rather than the tour's plaque listing, then the map icon is greyed out.
Why doesn’t the plaque photo match what I see at the location?
Rose took the photos in 2012. Many of the places described (especially shops and cafes) were long gone even then and since then further changes will have taken place. The essence of each tour though is to tell the tales of that particular place, not to provide an accurate image to match each. There are a few plaques where the original building has been demolished.
How can I delete a tour I’ve created?
Swipe left and tap delete or tap Edit at the top right to indicate deletion for all user tours in the usual way.
Is there satellite view for the map?
Yes - tap Views at the top right of the map to toggle between Standard and Satellite map view.
Will Pink Plaques be available in other languages?
Maybe. Let me know if you have a particular language in mind ...