William Mahoney

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William Mahoney, born 3 April 1908, died 16 May 1980,was a gay man who kept diaries that are now in the Bishopsgate Institute[1]. The Institute catalogue has the following description: The diaries are mixed, pocket and A5. Most of his adult life William Mahoney lived in a flat in Brixton with Doug (Doug D Waldron, born 3 March 1910); the diaries tell how the couple were inseparable up until Doug's death when William moved in with family. Doug is mentioned in every one of the diaries, so it is possible to surmise that the couple were together for over 25 years. William is consistent in his diary habits: each entry starts with 'up' and ends with 'to bed' and most nights 'had a drink and then to bed'. In the early diaries William records whether Doug is 'in ' or 'out'. When Doug dies each diary entry ends 'Good Night Doug, God Bless'. William is very house-proud, diary entries abound with the following adverbs: mending, dusting, washing, scrubbing, cleaning, soaking, clearing, tidying, shifting, hanging, doing and so on. William also notes the domestic tasks Doug completes: April 24 1952, William notes a dissatisfactory painting job Doug makes of the sitting room door. July 1956 contains a record of a holiday Doug and William take to Paris. Doug is clearly very ill in the early 70s. One of the longest entries is for 23 November 1971 when Doug has a severe heart attack. Doug dies 5 December 1971. The entries for December 1971, 1 January 1972, and late December 1972 are a particularly poignant reflection on William's love for Doug and are amongst the few entries in the diary to tend to feelings over chores. William worked as a clerk/ cashier. He spent long periods in hospital with a weak chest. William also gardened (roses); played the piano; enjoyed shopping for bric a brac around London; and dearly loved his family, who he lived close to all his life. Diaries included: 1945-48, 1950-1953, 1955-1956, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963-1964, 1966-1970, 1971-1978.


  1. Reference GDP/429