Partner Montague Glover

Queer Places:
Little Windovers, Balsall Heath, Birmingham B12 9NU, Regno Unito

Related imageMontague Glover is notable for his depictions of his partnership with his lover, Ralph Edward Hall (December 5, 1913 – 1987), a rare documented example of a gay long-term relationship prior to the legalization of homosexuality in Britain in the 1960s.

Ralph Edward Hall was born 5 December 1913 in Vine Street Buildings off Tooley Street in Bermondsey (now in the London Borough of Southwark). Ralph came from a poor working-class family, had eight brothers and sisters, and his father worked as a wharf labourer and served in the Army during World War I. Hall and Glower met around 1930 and Glover employed him as his manservant, perhaps to provide a social alibi for two men living together. The relationship lasted for more than 50 years, surviving the Second World War during which Hall was drafted to the Royal Air Force. Much of their latter years were spent at Glover's country house, 'Little Windovers', in the village of Balsall Heath, near Coventry, where Glover's eldest sister, Ellen, lived with them until her death in 1954 aged 72.

Ralph was poorly educated, but absolutely devoted to Monty. The strikingly good looking Hall posed for Glover in outdoor settings, yielding photographs that were so suggestive that they could not be shared with the general public. While Ralph was serving for four years in the Royal Air Force, he sent Monty hundreds of love letters – the same sort of letters that countless boys sent to their sweethearts back home to bolster their spirits during the war. Ralph preserved them, and they were published after his death.

In his later years, Monty was described by his friends as a charming, if somewhat reserved man, and Ralph as an outgoing, cheerful ‘cockney’. After Ralph died in 1987, their house, known as ‘Little Windovers’, near the village of Balsall Heath, between Coventry and Leamington Spa, was put up for sale.

Glover himself died aged 85 in 1983, leaving Ralph Hall as his sole heir. Hall died four years later after suffering a gradual decline in health.

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