Boris Johnson has joined Sir Ian McKellen and Paul O’Grady in the campaign to secure one of London’s most iconic LGBT venues, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Speaking about the RVT Future’s campaign, which is fighting to turn the RVT building into a listed building, Boris Johnson said,
“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been a lynchpin at the heart of London’s LGBT community for more than six decades. This week, New York gave the Stonewall Inn landmark status, recognising its place in that city’s history. The RVT’s unique contribution to the vibrancy of London life should also be celebrated. It is a beacon that is known around the world and must be made a listed building so it can continue to shine for years to come.”
Amy Lamé, chair of RVT Future – a group of performers, producers and punters concerned by the RVT’s purchase by property developers last year – said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have Boris’s support. It’s great to know he takes the LGBT community’s interests seriously and loves the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as much as we do. We hope Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport give the Mayor’s view due consideration as they consider the listing application. Ultimately, we’d like the RVT to be owned by the community that cherishes it, so we hope this will be an important step on that path.”
Yesterday, Sir Ian McKellen and Paul O’Grady – who developed his legendary character Lily Savage during a long-running residency at the RVT – gave their support to the campaign.
O’Grady developed his legendary character Lily Savage at the RVT during a long-running residency in the 80s. “I consider the venue to be my very own school of dramatic art,”
O’Grady writes. “The Vauxhall Tavern was our village hall” during a turbulent era marked by homophobia, police raids and the AIDS crisis.
More than 30 performers, producers, local residents, LGBTQ charities, architects, historians and politicians have written to Historic England (formerly English Heritage) to back the listing application made by RVT Future.