Mayor Boris Johnson: “Make the RVT a listed building!”

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has come out in favour of RVT Future’s campaign to make the Royal Vauxhall Tavern a listed building.

Johnson said:

“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been a lynchpin at the heart of London’s LGBT community for more than six decades. This week, New York gave the Stonewall Inn landmark status, recognising its place in that city’s history. The RVT’s unique contribution to the vibrancy of London life should also be celebrated.

“It is a beacon that is known around the world and must be made a listed building so it can continue to shine for years to come.”

Amy Lamé, chair of RVT Future – a campaign that aims to ensure a thriving future for the Tavern, which is believed to be the UK’s oldest LGBTQ pub and iconic performance space – said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have Boris’s support. It’s great to know he takes the LGBT community’s interests seriously and loves the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as much as we do. We hope Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport give the Mayor’s view due consideration as they consider the listing application.

“Ultimately, we’d like the RVT to be owned by the community that cherishes it, so we hope this will be an important step on that path.”

The move comes the day after Sir Ian McKellen and Paul O’Grady added their support to the campaign to make the Royal Vauxhall Tavern the UK’s first building to get listed status in recognition of its contribution to LGBTQ heritage.

McKellen and O’Grady, who developed his legendary character Lily Savage during a long-running residency at the Tavern, are among more than 30 performers, producers, local residents, LGBTQ charities, architects, historians and politicians who have written to Historic England (formerly English Heritage) to back the listing. The local vicar is on board too. The full list can be seen here.

The RVT was built on the former grounds of the Vauxhall pleasure gardens around 1862, and has been a site of LGBTQ community and culture since the 1950s, if not earlier.

It was bought last year by Austrian property development company Immovate, which has repeatedly declined to give details of their plans for the site or meet members of the RVT community.

Immovate opposes the listing, claiming it would make even minor repairs so expensive that it would have to close the Tavern. The company has not given any evidence to support this claim. Hundreds of London pubs and businesses operate successfully from listed buildings.

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