Boris Johnson MP, Mayor of London

“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.”

Nick Boles MP, Minister for Skills

“Times have changed, thankfully, and we now have something approaching full equality for LGBT people in the eyes of the law. It is totally right and proper that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern should change with the times. But it would be a tragedy if we were to lose this iconic building, which stands proudly and alone in an area of London that is being redeveloped so dramatically. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the site of an important part of our history as a people, a city and a nation.”

Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Secretary of State for culture

“This building is not just a building. It is a living, breathing, high-kicking, dragged-up monument to a unique form of community life and cultural expression that should be protected and recognised by being listed.”

Lord (Michael) Cashman, CBE Labour worldwide LGBT special envoy

“Listing will ensure the pub and its important role in history is protected allowing the local community to continue with their efforts to keep the pub at the heart of local cultural activity. It will also continue to benefit from its rich history of introducing new artists to the world. Many have gone on from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern to win Perrier Awards or even BAFTAs.”

*Kate Hoey MP, Member for Vauxhall

“The RVT is a historic and recognised building, a landmark meeting and socialising place for London’s LGBT+ community, and a valued asset for the wider local population. It is at the edge of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a key local amenity, and its meeting rooms are used as a venue by a range of community groups. It is a recognised and valued location, and you will be familiar with its significant social, cultural and political historic impact.”

Fiona Twycross, London Assembly Member

“The RVT has a long history as an LGBTQ venue, and the fact that it dates back to 1863 shows that it has stood the test of time. It is equally important today that London’s LGBTQ community has a place like the RVT to congregate and be reminded of the struggle previous generations had to endure to overcome discrimination.”

Councillor Jack Hopkins, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth

Lord Collins of Highbury (former General Secretary of the Labour Party)

Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture

Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark

Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury (former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)


Artists and performers

Paul O’Grady

“I consider the venue to be my very own school of dramatic art – the RVT is now one of the few remaining venues to showcase new and old talent every week. It should be offered protection to withstand today’s developers. Without listing the threat to its future is all too real. With listing I know the community will rally round and ensure it remains an important venue for many decades to come.”

Sir Ian McKellen

“As an arts venue it has been the launch pad for many who have gone on to become household names in the LGBT and wider community. Above all it retains its role as the home of avant-garde entertainment for the LGBT community in London. I support the efforts to get the RVT listed.”

*Penny Arcade, performer and activist

“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has earned the right to call itself a cultural landmark. It is a city treasure built on the sacrifice and commitment of generations. The Tavern is one of the original alternative spaces, if not the first. Internationally, in terms of performance art and queer culture – two separate categories – everyone knows the RVT. It’s also a place where a lot of people from New York have performed for years and years. It’s very, very special.”

*Neil Bartlett, author and playwright

“It would be true to say that the ground-breaking work of the Tavern in blurring the boundaries between queer culture and mainstream culture – launching Lily Savage into the national consciousness, taking gay cabaret to the Barbican and the Sydney Opera House courtesy of Duckie – has had a significant effect in widening the possibilities for LGBT artists in the wider culture. I doubt if Nick Hytner at the National would have been quite so confident about commissioning a radical gay love story from Handspring and I if the stable of artists working at the Tavern had not demonstrated so conclusively how forward-looking the traditions of LGBT performance have now become.”


Community leaders

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall

“The Tavern is more than just a bar – it’s also a safe space to meet new people, exchange ideas, and celebrate experimental and performance art. And over the years it has continued to campaign for equal rights and speak up for and support those who need it most. For these reasons, it’s crucial that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern remains untouched, both for the history it represents and the current and future generations of LGBT people it protects and provides security and comfort to.”

*Sarah Brown, charity executive

“As someone who was raised and educated in London and lived here most of my adult life, I have come to know and respect the importance of certain buildings as community venues in our great city. The community spirit I encountered at the RVT is not entirely down to the building but it was clear to me that it would be difficult to replicate this atmosphere which is built upon 50 years of LGBT heritage, and to be able to symbolically just turn to the walls themselves as a reminder of a strong and shared history.”

Dr Ross Davies, Chairman, Vauxhall Society

“In the context of Vauxhall and its evolution since the Second World War, the Tavern’s survival is remarkable. RVT was part of a range of buildings, turning a corner with rounded elegance; now, it stands alone. The entire area north of the gyratory system is given over to modern riverside developments that tend to turn their back on Vauxhall, while RVT remains a defiant reminder of community and of locality. In fact, the Tavern links the present townscape back to the Vauxhall Gardens pleasure resort that occupied the site until 1859, when its end was hastened by the construction of the railway viaduct to Waterloo. These layered histories are invaluable to Vauxhall’s residents, and encourage other people to move to and feel welcome here.”

Lois Keidan, Director, Live Art Development Agency

“The RVT has offered a space for audiences to both experience new artistic practices and new kinds of artist and audience relationships, but also to engage with the politics and shifting social contexts for LGBT communities. Such kinds of safe spaces, where artists can test ideas and where audiences can explore the new, are increasingly rare in London. They are invaluable to a healthy culture and the RVT is a shining and lasting example of how brilliantly they can work when they are at their best.”

Revd Alison Kennedy, St Peter’s, Vauxhall

“As the vicar of the local church of St Peter, which is the Tavern’s younger sister by a year, I have recently completed a book about the history of the local area, which included some research into the history of the RVT.I am very aware that the building means a great deal to local people, not just to the “punters” who travel to the club. There are a number of other clubs in the area, but amongst them the RVT has a unique and special place as a very inclusive club, with little or no record of trouble, where those from the LGBTQ community can socialise and bring their (often non-LGBTQ) friends.”

Dr Fernando Rihl, Vice Chair of local residents association and architect

“The RTV building represents the lost link to the estate that was once there. It figures in people’s collective memory of a past Vauxhall that should be retained and celebrated.”

Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive, Albert Kennedy Trust

“The human and equal rights now offered LGBT people were in no small part won through the activism which was born and developed within the RBT through its performance. It is thanks to this that many of the young LGBT people the Albert Kennedy Trust now works with are safe and free from homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia.”

Jay Stewart, Director, Gendered Intelligence

“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of maintaining the cultural heritage site. We need more spaces like the RVT not less. The RVT is an integral venue that houses our community.”



Professor Gavin Butt, performance researcher

“The RVT has been, and continues to be, a fertile site for the development of some of the greatest popular performers and experimental artists in recent years’. This work has also been of value and benefit to queer audiences in the Tavern but also, as Paul O’ Grady perhaps demonstrates the most, to mainstream audiences the nation over.”

Dr Ben Campkin, Director, UCL Urban Laboratory

“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is a good example of mid-Victorian public house architecture, in an environment that is developing fast with high-density apartment blocks. It is the only remaining part of the estate into which it was once integrated, and is a distinctive feature of the townscape, providing a connective function within an eclectic urban fabric. It also has a close historical and cultural association with the demolished Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, having formed part of the estate built on the Gardens after their closure in 1859.”

*Dr Dominic Johnson, performance researcher

“The RVT is a prime candidate for listing on the basis of its crucial and distinctive value for LGBTQ audiences and communities, historically, and in the present. The increasing scarcity and therefore significance of such buildings – venues with more than half a century of continuous LGBTQ community and cultural use – and a full century of existence as a social space, lend it its singular and exemplary status.”

Professor Matt Cook, historian of queer culture

“The architectural distinctiveness of the RVT makes it a landmark and reference point for all: a highly visible and distinctive reminder of community, activism, art and difference – and the fusion and intersection of these things.”

David Coke FSA, historian of Vauxhall pleasure gardens

“As the area around Vauxhall Gardens has recently become a magnet for cultural businesses of all sorts, from Damian Hirst’s studio and the Tea-House Theatre, to the Cabinet Gallery for contemporary art, currently being built by Charles Asprey, the link with the past that the RVT represents becomes more and more important and irreplaceable. This ephemeral link hangs by the most fragile of threads; so the listing of the building would be an invaluable tool in helping to protect this almost miraculous survival for the future, so that residents and visitors to the area can experience at least something of the genuine atmosphere of transgression, of risk, and of the avant-garde that were all vital ingredients of Vauxhall Gardens. The loss of this precious (and still active) reminder of our cultural history would be an irreversible tragedy, and would break forever that gossamer-thin connection with a significant past that is always so valuable and instructive to our collective present and future.”

Professor Matt Houlbrook, historian of queer culture

“A sense of place and the material world is vital to our sense of community. Yet the secret and often ephemeral nature of LGBTQ histories has made queer places from the past uniquely fragile. Where countless other cafes, restaurants, or pubs have come and gone, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has stood the test of time. The fabric of the building carries the impress of the past – linking contemporary LGBTQ communities back to those that went before them, carrying a sense of genealogy often denied to queer men and women. Like no other building in Britain, it materializes a kind of queer family history – a sense of belonging in both the city and the history of modern Britain.”

James Hughes, Victorian Society

“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is an imposing, well-proportioned and handsomely detailed historic public house. It was the first building to be erected on the redeveloped Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and marks the apex of a now largely vanished streetscape that was laid out by the pub’s architect James Edmeston in the 1860s. The building’s strong Italianate design, its striking bowed façade and its prominent situation make it a conspicuous component in the streetscape and an overwhelmingly positive contributor to the appearance and character of the area. It also possesses group value with the adjacent railway viaduct.”

Dr Catherine Silverstone, performance researcher

“Venues with more than half a century of continuous LGBTQ community and cultural use are comparatively rare. I very much hope that Historic England will take the opportunity to list the RVT, safeguarding this site of community and performative significance for present and future use.”



James Soane, architect

“Until 1889 Vauxhall was still in Surrey! When the gardens closed the area became developed by Victorian speculators who built railways, houses and pubs. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern functioned as a Music Hall and Cabaret venue. After WW2 the pub continued to operate as an early drag venue and frequented by the underground gay community. Today it is a thriving hub for the LGBTQ community. The pub therefore represents the continuity of a long tradition in a building typology that is fast disappearing.

Professor Simon Atkinson, architect

“The Tavern, not only in its gateway location, but in itself is an important historic landmark of London architecture. It has a defined corner presence and pride, presenting a rich example of public house architecture, but also one distinguishing “place making” in south London working class culture.”

Professor Nigel Coates, architect

“An island of dignity in the whirling indifferent interchange that is Vauxhall, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (or RVT) is a poignant reminder of the architectural elegance that characterised much of 19th century London. The possibility of its destruction is unthinkable, both from the architectural point of view and for its enduring popularity as an alternative venue.”

* Appeared on stage at the RVT