Gay bars may be closing elsewhere, but today Your Activist notes two which are opening.
The Derby Telegraph preview the refurbished Derby city centre pub Duke of York GAY, which will offer themed nights, a specialist gin bar and a function room for 70 people. The Burton Road bar has been shut for six months but is open after being taken over by new management.
Meanwhile the Coventry Telegraph (related) report that the Kiki lounge is due to open shortly.
Your Activist is pleased that more safe spaces for gay people are becoming available again, but remains concerned over the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on the gay community.
Cincinatti.com reports that The Dock, a long-running Cincinnati gay bar, closed yesterday. Open since 1984, it had been at the forefront in its role as an LBGT community-building asset by hosting drag shows and dance nights, as well as serving as a hub of social activism.
The Dock has been targeted for demolition, as the Ohio Department of Transportation is purchasing a portion of the land on which the building sits, in order to make improvements to nearby roads and a bridge.
Manchester town hall bosses have been accused of writing out the gay community in plans to regenerate land next door to the village, including demolishing the Thompson’s Arms pub and building over a key Pride venue.
Four plots are singled out for redevelopment, including the surface car park on Sackville Street that hosts part of Pride each August. That would become a multi-storey car park, offices, flats and a hotel. Chorlton Street bus station, which includes the Thompson’s Arms pub, would be demolished to make way for a ‘flexible events space’ and flats. Yate’s wine bar on the corner of Portland Street would be replaced with a new office block. A site further down Portland Street, bordering Abingdon Street, already has permission for a 17-storey hotel.
Gay bars in London are closing down at such an “alarming” rate that the redevelopment of the Joiners Arms, the east London gay pub, will only get the go-ahead if it includes an LGBT club venue. The mayor’s office will send an inspector to make sure it is gay enough!
Tower Hamlets council has told the developers of the Joiners site that their plans for offices and nine luxury flats will get planning permission only if it includes a pub that will “remain a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-focused venue for a minimum of 12 years”.
Your Activist thinks that this is the first time such a condition has been included in planning approvals.
National Trust members have reportedly quit over the charity’s decision to require volunteers at one property to wear LGBT lanyards.
Volunteers at Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall were asked to wear the rainbow flag neckwear to celebrate the last lord of the manor, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who was gay. The decision provoked a furious backlash from volunteers who accused the trust of “outing” the late owner and infringing on their political freedoms.
More than 240 members have since contacted the National Trust to revoke their membership over the issue.
Mr Wyndham Ketton-Cremer died in 1969, aged 63, just two years after homosexuality was decriminalised, and was featured in a short film last month narrated by Stephen Fry called The Unfinished Portrait, made for the National Trust as part of it’s Prejudice and Pride season, to mark 50 years since homosexuality was partially decriminalised.
Perhaps the National Trust should have run some gay awareness courses for its volunteers.
Seven town houses will be built in Manchester’s Canal Street after six months of property sales which have seen office, licensed and leisure sites in the “gay village” sold for housing.
A derelict site will be redeveloped to create seven three-bed townhouses with integral garages and one two-bed maisonette apartment.
The last six months has seen intensive developer interest in the Canal Street area and the loss of several licensed/leisure sites to residential conversion. The former Villaggio restaurant site at 44 Canal Street was sold for £1.4m, less than two weeks after going on the market, and 12 Minshull Street was sold for £3m – higher than the £1.25m expected.
Craig and Leon | Kent Online | 17068
The Queen Anne in Maidstone, Kent, has been a gay pub for many years but the new proprietors are a gay couple who have renovated the pub into a pub for the whole wider community, hopefully to enable the pub to survive.
Craig Burns remembers the Sittingbourne Road venue as the beating heart of Maidstone’s lesbian, gay community when he and his husband Leon used to drink there a few years ago. He said: “This is quite a nice challenge for us. A number of people have come and gone over the past few years and the pub and community need some stability. We used to drink here quite a lot when Ricky and Darren were in charge. It was thriving then and we want to make it the heart of the gay community in Maidstone again but are opening the doors for everyone.”