Lost and Found

Searching for herself Andrea Smith was born in 1966, and adopted as a baby. She grew up in Manchester, and moved to London in the early 1990s. The knowledge that the people who had raised her were not her blood family sparked an ‘existential quest for self’ in Andrea that took the form of meticulous …

Heavy duty partying in King’s Cross

Eileen was born on Christmas day, 1954. She was reportedly due ‘before or slightly after’ Christmas, and her mother hoped she’d stick to that appointment, not wanting the new arrival to interfere with the festive jollities. But baby Eileen was eager (or else reticent) and arrived on the 25th, and luckily, everyone was glad. For …

Contestation on the dance floor

Huw Arfon Williams Huw Arfon Williams was born in 1959, and came to London in 1983. We meet him to discuss gay London from the 80s onwards, in a stylish members’ club in Soho. It’s a fitting place to meet Huw, who is a stylish man, but when he declares that the sartorial choices he …

There was something in the gritty, shitty air of King’s Cross

After graduating from Warwick University, Rob Pateman moved into a rundown flat in Finsbury Park and spent his 20’s exploring his sexuality on London’s gay scene. A key part of his education and centre of his social universe was The Bell, an iconic gay pub at Kings Cross. He worked on the door for several …

Ghosts on the dance floor

  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 …

I wanted to jump, I wanted to turn

I interviewed James Stewart Grant at his house in Stoke Newington in July 2017. James has one of those wonderful homes that you sometimes stumble across working on projects like this – full of original artworks, and lined with books. Over the course of the morning we spoke about his arrival in London from Edinburgh, …

If you can’t kill yourself, you get on and live

Jonathan Blake was born in 1949. That makes him 68 years old when we meet him to talk about his memories of King’s Cross and LGSM, in September 2017. He is officially a pensioner, he tells me proudly; he never expected to be able to say that, having been diagnosed with HTLV-3 – which later …

Movements: The Bell

On May Day 1980 a boy from Manchester and a boy from Plymouth arrived in London. They were Martin and Berni of Movements and had met in Plymouth a year earlier when Berni was a student and Martin was a local. They had been involved in local gay and anti-Nazi activism movements. They also shared …