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Senate House Library

Seized Books! An online exhibition

LGBTQ+ books and censorship in 1980s Britain.

On 10 April 1984, Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise raided Gay’s the Word bookshop in London’s Bloomsbury. 

'Operation Tiger' saw officers seize over 140 titles, worth thousands of pounds.

Bookshop staff and directors were charged with conspiracy to import so-called ‘indecent or obscene’ material. 

But Gay’s the Word and their supporters fought back... 

‘Operation Tiger’ and the books that Customs tried to censor

Find out more about the books seized in the ‘Operation Tiger’ raids -- from gay erotic fiction to lesbian history, politics to poetry, medical literature on the emerging AIDS crisis to young adult novels.

List of books

List of books seized by HM Customs from Gay's the Word
The full list of titles seized by HM Customs from Gay's The Word, published in 'Capital Gay'. Permission granted by Graham McKerrow.

Exhibition acknowledgements