Sui generis: LGBTQ+ venues in London since the 1980s

  • 17:15 GMT

  • Online

This talk will present architectural histories of queer premises in London. It will use case studies of bars, cafés, nightclubs, pubs, community centres, and hybrids of these typologies, to explore how they have been imagined, created and sustained from the 1980s to the present.

Venues associated with LGBTQ+ populations faced a crisis due to threats from redevelopment and conversion in the 2000s and 2010s, stimulating a variety of heritage projects and attempts to use planning and listing protections. Venue operators, patrons, performers, and promoters rallied to articulate the venues’ layered histories, multiple generative functions, present-day and future value. The talk will examine some of these campaigns, and their unfolding outcomes.

It will present these venues, and the planning processes around them, in the context of wider international debates about changing LGBTQ+ subjectivities and social movements, queer space, temporality and heritage, and queer methodologies in architectural and urban disciplines.

Speaker bio: Ben Campkin is Professor of Urbanism and Urban History at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Co-Director of UCL Urban Laboratory. He is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (2013), which won the 2015 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Foundation Award. He has recently completed Queer Premises: LGBTQ+ Venues in London Since the 1980s (Bloomsbury, 2023).