Dorothy Towers

Editing and Archive Research by El Jones

Dorothy Towers is the story of the legendary Clydesdale and Cleveland Towers, two residential blocks in the centre of Birmingham, UK. Completed in 1971 as a social housing development and located adjacent to the city’s Gay Village, the towers’ proximity to the community means they have long been a haven for queer people.

It features testimonials from residents and explores ideas of queer kinship and inheritance alongside experiences of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and ’90s.

The film includes footage of interior architecture; archival materials, including newsprint and photographs; community members in celebratory mood; and sweeping shots of architectural reliefs and designs surrounding the towers. Dorothy Towers frames the buildings in a continuum of history that extends back to the city’s postwar redevelopment via its modernist underpasses and countless bars and nightclubs.

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