RVT Future newsletter #1 – June 2015

Thank you for supporting our campaign to safeguard the future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – London’s oldest LGBTQ pub and iconic performance venue. Over the last two months we’ve had more than 10,000 visitors to our website and thousands of people subscribing to our newsletter, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Our campaign to get Historic England (formerly English Heritage) to recognise the RVT as a listed building has reached a very exciting stage. Historic England have released an interim report which we are in the process of responding to, with the support of performers, producers, local residents, historians, academics and politicians. We’re expecting a final result later in the summer but we still need your support to get this over the line. Here’s how…

RVT Future Get-together! Come get involved!

First, some exciting news! We’d love to meet some more of you, our fabulous supporters, so we’re hosting a social at the Vauxhall Griffin (not to be confused with the Tavern) from 4pm on Sunday 21 June. This is your chance to come along, show solidarity and get involved!

The free event will be attended by members of the RVT Future committee who want to hear your ideas and will be on hand to share the latest news about the application to English Heritage. There are also several chances to see Save the Tavern, Tim Brunsden’s 50-minute documentary about the RVT’s unique history and uncertain future. More details and free screening tickets here.

Question Immovate and their campaign at every opportunity

As well as showing your support offline, we need you to do so online! As we mentioned, Immovate have started their own campaign, #lovetheRVT, which encourages people to sign up to an anti-listing petition. We need you to fight this every time you see it posted or mentioned by making sure your friends know that:

  • The #LoveTheRVT anti-listing petition has been created with a property development firm.
  • Immovate (the property development firm) has refused to engage in any discussion with the RVT Future campaign on any level, despite repeated requests. They still have yet to make a public statement about their intentions for the Tavern’s future.
  • The best way you can protect the Tavern is to keep going, keep putting your money behind the bar, and keep caring about its future.

As our campaign gathers pace, the biggest criticism we receive from Immovate and James Lindsay, the pub’s chief executive, is that a Historic England listing would harm the business or even force it to close. This is not true. Historic England takes great care to preserve commercial viability.

The fact is that hundreds of pubs and vibrant businesses operate out of listed buildings. For example:

Nearly two-thirds of the pubs on CAMRA’s list of historic London pubs are listed (PDF here, see page 12)

The George Inn in Southwark is Grade I listed – a higher level of protection than the RVT would get – and does fine.

The Ivy House in Nunhead, a pub that was threatened with redevelopment, is now community-owned, well-loved and thriving!

A listing would be no obstacle at all to the RVT continuing to run as it always has. It wouldn’t get in the way of regular upkeep of the building or changes to its interior. It wouldn’t add to running costs. It wouldn’t make any difference to business as usual. If anything, the Tavern would benefit from becoming a global landmark – the UK’s first venue protected on the basis of its contribution to LGBTQ culture.

Thankfully, the Tavern has enjoyed a booming trade over the past couple of months, from packed regular nights to more unusual events. A particular highlight was the pre-election hustings, where Vauxhall’s veteran MP Kate Hoey sang the praises of the RVT. “It is loved by everyone,” she said. “To be quite honest, I cannot visualise Vauxhall without the Vauxhall Tavern.”

Just last night, Hoey, who was reelected on May 7, tweeted:

We couldn’t agree with her more.

So make sure you question Immovate, support our campaign, and, most importantly, drink, dance and spend at your favourite venue! We can absolutely do this!

RVT Future