The action plan to turn the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern into a listed building has being given celebrity backing as Sir Ian McKellen and Paul O’Grady put their weight behind the campaign.
Many of London’s gay venues have closed recently forcing the iconic RVT to seek landmark status as a listed building, which could protect it from redevelopment.
In recent years over ten LGBT venues have shuttered.
New York’s Stonewall Inn was awarded Landmark Status in recognition of its role in LGBT+ history.
The application for listed status was made by RVT Future, a group of performers, producers and punters concerned by the RVT’s purchase by property developers last year. The new owners have refused to discuss plans with the community about the fate of the RVT.
McKellen and O’Grady are among more than 30 performers, producers, local residents, LGBT+ charities, architects, historians and politicians who have written to Historic England (formerly English Heritage) to back the listing application made by RVT Future, a group of performers, producers and punters concerned by the RVT’s purchase by property developers last year.
The pub’s local vicar is on board with the campaign too.
O’Grady notes that following the closure of LGBT+ spaces across London, including the Black Cap in Camden, Madame Jojo’s in Soho and the Joiners Arms in Hackney, the RVT “is now one of the few remaining venues to showcase new and old talent every week”.
He believes the Tavern “should be offered protection to withstand today’s developers… Without listing the threat to its future is all too real. With listing I know the community will rally round and ensure it remains an important venue for many decades to come.”
Sir Ian McKellen has also written to Historic England to support the application. “I support the campaign to grant the Royal Vauxhall Tavern listed status”, says Sir Ian.
McKellen was among the founders of Stonewall UK in 1989 and is himself co-owner of a listed pub, The
Grapes in Limehouse.
The Tavern was built on the former grounds of the Vauxhall pleasure gardens around 1862, and has been a site of LGBT+ community and culture since the 1950s, if not earlier. The RVT featured in last year’s international hit film Pride, ‘playing itself’ as a hub of community activism.
A number of venues in recent years have closed, these include: The Black Cap, Barcode Vauxhall, Candy BAr, Covert, Escape, Madame Jo Jos, Green Carnation, Joiners Arms, Lo Profile, Profile Bar, Oak Bar,