One of London’s oldest and well known gay venues, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, has been granted Grade II listing following a celebrity campaign supported by Sir Ian McKellan, Graham Norton and Paul O’Grady.
The drive to grant it protected status was endorsed by Lambeth Council and is the first time a building has been granted the listing by Historic England because of its significance to the LGBT community.
Cabinet Member for Jobs and growth Councillor Jack Hopkins, who wrote to the Secretary of State to endorse the campaign, said he was thrilled by the announcement.
He said: “I think Lambeth can be very proud that not only do we have the highest proportion of LGBT people in London, we now have a building listed and recognised for its important to that community.
“There has been a tremendous amount of work from local people and Lambeth’s planning and conservation officers so this is a great achievement for everyone involved.”
The tavern is renowned for its live cabaret and music and for being the place where O’Grady cut his teeth with his comedy alter-ego Lily Savage.
Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said: “I am thrilled to be able to list the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as Grade II – the iconic cultural hub in the heart of London is of huge significance to the LGB&T community.
“Not only of architectural interest, the venue has a longstanding historic role as a symbol of tolerance and alternative entertainment.
“Residing in Lambeth since 1860, the landmark venue has been the springboard for so many of our loved UK entertainers.
“I am delighted that the listing will preserve the history of this venue for future generations to enjoy – I hope that it continues to be filled with laughter and joy.”
Amy Lamé is the co-founder and host of long-running RVT night Duckie and chair of RVT Future, the community group that coordinated the listing application.
She said: “The listing is a fantastic milestone for our community and a victory against the odds for our beloved pub.
“We look forward to continuing our work to ensure the RVT remains a vibrant space of LGBTQ community and culture for generations to come.”
The listing means that Lambeth Council, as a planning authority, has more power to reject any future proposals to demolish and redevelop the site.
Picture courtesy of Reading Tom, with thanks