Debbie Smith, Heritage Coordinator, Musician and DJ on her memories of King’s Cross and The Bell. I met Debbie one chilly October morning in her offices at the grand and glorious Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives at Bancroft Library.
We talked about her past as a frequenter of The Bell (now The Big Chill House on King’s Cross Road, then an alternative LGBT pub), and the memories of being young and queer with the iconic pub at the centre of her social universe. We also touched on some other happenings around King’s Cross in the 80s and 90s, including spending time in the same haunts as the ‘working girls’ and the tragic King’s Cross Fire.
Our conversation ended with a discussion about King’s Cross now. Debbie says: ‘I’ve been walking through King’s Cross quite a lot recently […] obviously you don’t have as much sleaze and danger and crime […] but it’s lost it’s edge. It’s like me, it’s got old and it’s got mellower, I’m missing my edgy youth, I’m not an edgy youth any more, and neither is King’s Cross’.
Story by Carlotta Manzi Davies, photos by Michael Hall.