26th July 2021 Community
Our neighbour the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been a hub for LGBTQ+ culture since before the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The Tavern was built in 1860-1862, on the corner of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens; a setting which attracted ‘pleasure seekers’ and ‘cross dressers’ (e.g John Cooper, AKA Princess Seraphina). By the time of WWII, the RVT had a well established reputation as a gay venue and hosted drag shows.
Over the following decades, the RVT has maintained its status as a thriving venue for the LGBTQ+ community, central to the establishment of Vauxhall as South London’s main LGBTQ+ district in the 1990s. It has survived gentrification attempts and in 2014 a campaigning group fought against its closure and won, succeeding in securing its status as a Grade II listed building.
The RVT is known for its diverse and exciting programme of alternative cabaret and drag, with regular nights such as Duckie, Kings of Clubs, Bar Wotever and Woof bringing a vast variety of acts to the stage. It continues to be an important part of Vauxhall’s community and nightlife.