However, Monty is also remembered for his daring photographic record of his partnership with Ralph Hall (1913-1987, portrait at right), providing one of the rare documented examples of a long-term homosexual relationship prior to the legalization of homosexuality in Britain in the 1960s. The two met in 1930, and Monty subsequently employed Hall as his manservant, in order to provide a socially acceptable alibi for two men living together. Their relationship lasted for more than 50 years, surviving WWII (Hall was drafted into the Royal Air Force in 1940).
Hall was himself a cheerful working-class lad from London’s East End, fifteen years younger than Glover. Every year of their life together was documented in loving snapshots. 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.
Much of their later years were spent at Glover's country house in a village near Coventry, where his sister lived with them until her death in the 1950s. Glover himself died in 1983 at the age of 86, leaving Ralph Hall as his sole heir. Hall died four years later after suffering a gradual decline in health. Friends of the couple described Monty as "charming, if somewhat reserved", and Ralph as an "outgoing cheerful cockney".
Montague's possessions were put up for auction in 1988 by Hall's heirs. One lot was a box that contained a collection of negatives from Glover’s photographs taken since serving in the trenches during WWI, as well as journals and correspondence from his many lovers spanning a period of several decades. Among them were letters from Hall written during his air force service in WWII. Much of the collection was published in a book with text by James Gardiner – A Class Apart: The Private Pictures of Montague Glover (1992), and it gives great insight into the underworld of gay British society in the early twentieth century. Many of the photographs are sexually charged, but stop short of being pornographic. Any Internet search for Glover's photographs will yield dozens of examples.
A portrait of Glover's lover Ralph Hall is shown on the book's cover.
Special thanks to blog reader Michael for bringing this photographer to my attention.
Monty Glover's partner Ralph Hall (below):
Two boys in Victoria Park in London's East End (1930s):
Necktie and salaciously tight shorts:
London delivery boy (1920s):
Rough trade in the then notorious cruising ground of Trafalgar Square, London:
Another portrait of Monty's partner, Ralph Hall: