GayEastLondon: Methodology for mapping the decline of east London’s gay bars and pubs

This dataset was created primarily from listings kept at the LAGNA archive.  To do this we searched through London listings including Time Out and QX from 1985 onwards. We also spoke to gay rights activists and local pub owners in our boroughs.

A gay bar is defined for this purpose as a business which is open to the public, serves alcohol, and advertises itself as an LGBTQ venue.

Some venues are considered “gay-friendly”; this is true for many ex-gay bars. This means that the bar was welcoming to all and attracted a mixed clientele of straight and LGBTQ people. “Gay-friendly” venues are not listed.

The dataset is not presumed to be entirely complete. There are various reasons for this:

  • LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) venues are not required to officially register as such.
  • There is no complete record of London’s past gay venues.
  • Some gay venues, in the 1980s and 1990s especially, were not advertised as such and were only known about through word of mouth.

Please note that:

  • The bars and pubs listed in our dataset operated as gay venues in the year under which they are listed. They may have been a gay venue before and after that year also.
  • Many of the bars listed operated as straight venues before and/or after being gay venues.
  • Bars are not shown in our listings during times when they operated as straight venues.

If you know of a venue in Lewisham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets or Croydon which is missing from our dataset then you can contact us with the name, location and dates the venue operated as an LGBTQ establishment by commenting on this article.

by Alice Harrold, Joel Watson

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