The London Gay Centre, Cowcross Street



67-69 Cowcross Street | 2014 | Google Street View | 14474

The London Gay Centre at 67-69 Cowcross Street, London was established by the Greater London Council in 1984-5 with a grant of around £750,000. Plans were for facilities including club/performance space, cooking and dining space, a bookshop, a daycare, a lounge and meeting room, a media resource center, offices and other meeting spaces. London was trying to emulate Birmingham, which had opened a Gay Centre in 1976.

Many LGBT organisations of the time were allowed to use the centre for postal purposes.

As a non-commercial gay venue there were problems with volunteers, political infighting and general mismanagement due to staff turnover.

On 4 May 1985 the minister for local government Kenneth Baker refused an application from the Greater London Council for his consent to a £143,000 grant to the London Lesbian and Gay Centre, using his power to veto grants of over £100,000. His refusal was that there was no evidence that the lesbian and gay community constituted an economically deprived group of the population.

When the GLC was abolished in 1986 ownership of the building was transferred to the London Residuary Body.

The centre continued in operation for five years but mounting losses, including a robbery, resulted in its closure and subsequent sale. The building is now the headquarters of the charity AddAction.

Vice: The London Lesbian and Gay Centre remembered after 30 years



2 thoughts on “The London Gay Centre, Cowcross Street

  1. I think the infighting was the worst of it, though it did leave a example for, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast not to follow. Dublin, and Cork had two rival centres and now have none. Admittedly, Dublin’s problem is half-solved now. The NGF’s insurers are pretending they did not know what NGF stood for, and wouldn’t have taken them on – because homosexuality was illegal at the time. Typical lawyer’s baloney, ‘The Hirschfeld’ was world-famous, as was David Norris – who appeared on telly regularly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.