Closure of landmark gay venues is ‘erasing LGBT history’
Historic England has warned that LGBT history is in danger of being erased, as more and more historic gay venues close their doors.
The body spoke out after the historic Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of London’s earliest gay bars, was granted listed states in acknowledgement of its unique place in the gay community.
A number of LGBT bars and clubs across the country have closed in recent years – with many of them citing the rise in hook-up apps and the LGBT community’s increasing confidence in going to ‘straight’ bars as significant factors.
Rosie Sherrington from Historic England told Sky News: “A lot of this history is being lost.
“The places where gay, lesbian and trans people used to meet were often illegal. They were hidden. You had to go up a secret passage and knock on a door.
“That stuff is very easily lost and forgotten but actually these were the sorts of places that were pioneering in terms of politics, art, culture, music, fashion.”
Seizing upon the listing of the RVT in London, Leeds councillors have called for similar protection for the city’s historic New Penny Pub – which has been operating as a gay bar for over 60 years.
He told Sky: “This venue has been one of the longest LGBT venues in Leeds.
“It’s been running for 60 years now, which means it opened its doors to the gay community before even homosexuality was legalised. That’s something that’s worth marking and something that’s worth celebrating.”
He said: “It’s an opportunity for a city like Leeds to put the contribution of the LGBT community on the map and celebrate the contribution our LGBT community has made to the city.”