In an era in which many of London’s best known gay clubs and pubs have merged with the mainstream, closed their doors, or are under threat, the UK’s oldest example has joined the establishment: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in the south-east of the city has been awarded listed status.
The pub had been under threat after a recent change of ownership put it in the hands of an Australian property developer, which prompted a campaign to save it, backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, actor Sir Ian McKellen and Lambeth council. Now that it has a grade II listing, however, it cannot be demolished.
This building meets the test for listing for its combined special architectural and historic interest in a national context– Historic England
Tracey Crouch, the heritage minister, said: "The venue has a longstanding historic role as a symbol of tolerance and alternative entertainment. Â
"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."
The pub is thought to have been designed by architect James Edmeston and was built in the 1860s on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
It has been described as a "landmark venue (that) has been the springboard for so many of our loved UK entertainers".
Historic England say the building is of architectural interest: "It is a handsome mid Victorian public house, with an impressive curved facade and strong architectural presence despite alterations at ground-floor level.
"This building meets the test for listing for its combined special architectural and historic interest in a national context."
Amy Lamé, chair of RVT Future, 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 LGBT community and culture for generations to come."
Image via Tom Morris/Wikimedia Commons