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Oppose the developers: London is fighting to protect its LGBTQ+ clubs

The capital has lost 58 per cent of LGBTQ+ venues in the last decade and the community they serve has had enough

  • Words: Jim Ottewill | Illustration: Lawrence Abbott
  • 4 October 2017

“I came in like a wrecking ball …” In 2013 you might have bellowed along to Miley Cyrus at Hackney’s queer pub The Joiners Arms. You might have been dancing next to Rufus Wainwright (or at least someone who looked him). It might have been a Thursday. It was probably the wrong side of midnight.

Less than six months later the same song would be more suitable as a soundtrack to the bulldozers being revved up by property developers as they contemplated replacing Hackney’s brilliantly dishevelled queer pub with flats.

This is typical of recent late night tales for LGBTQ+ venues in the capital. Due to external pressures from large-scale developments, rising business rents and a lack of safeguarding measures in London’s existing planning system, these venues have been dropping like flies: 58 per cent lost since 2006, UCL research claims. The Joiners was one, alongside other high profile closures such as Camden’s The Black Cap and The Queen’s Head in Chelsea.

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