Sunday 4 December 2016

Listed status for London's LGBT venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Published 09/09/2015 | 14:39

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London has received Grade II listed status. (Department for Culture, Media and Sport/PA)
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London has received Grade II listed status. (Department for Culture, Media and Sport/PA)
Paul O'Grady performed at the venue in the guise if Lily Savage

A world-famous gay entertainment venue which is supported by celebrities including Sir Ian McKellen and Paul O'Grady has been given listed status.

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The awarding of Grade II status for the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London is the first listing of its kind for a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender venue, and comes amid concerns over the tavern's future following its purchase by new owners.

The move to list the building, where O'Grady regularly performed as Lily Savage and which featured in the film Pride, was welcomed by campaigners fighting to secure the future of the venue as a "fantastic milestone".

Standing on the historic site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in Lambeth, the tavern was first built in 1860, and has a long tradition of hosting alternative, transgender and drag performances.

It has been listed both for its architectural interest and its historic and cultural significance as an "enduring symbol of the confidence of the gay community in London".

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: "I am thrilled to be able to list the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as Grade II - the iconic cultural hub in the heart of London is of huge significance to the LGB&T community.

"Not only of architectural interest, the venue has a long-standing historic role as a symbol of tolerance and alternative entertainment.

"Residing in Lambeth since 1860, the landmark venue has been the springboard for so many of our loved UK entertainers.

"I am delighted that the listing will preserve the history of this venue for future generations to enjoy - I hope that it continues to be filled with laughter and joy."

Director of listing at the government heritage agency Historic England, Roger Bowdler, said: "The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is an enduring and important venue for the LGB&T community.

"Built on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, it carries on the tradition of alternative and bohemian entertainment which is bound up in this part of London's history and identity."

The move to list the building was welcomed by Amy Lame, co-founder and host of long running Royal Vauxhall Tavern night Duckie, and chairwoman of RVT Future, a community group that co-ordinated the application for the site to be listed.

She said: "The listing is a fantastic milestone for our community and a victory against the odds for our beloved pub.

"We look forward to continuing our work to ensure the RVT remains a vibrant space of LGBTQ community and culture for generations to come."

The listing comes at a time when Historic England is running a Pride Of Place research project, looking into the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender venues and buildings across the UK.

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