Our venues


Wheel of Fortune painting

LGBT people historically met and interacted in less visible places owing to legal prohibition and the threat of homophobic or transphobic abuse. In the past these spaces included private rooms or ‘closets’ in stately homes, and the clubs, pubs and coffeehouses that were known as ‘molly houses’. Since the 17th century, gay and bi men have sometimes used more public environments such as parks, squares and walkways as ‘cruising’ areas. Venues that attract more liberal audiences, such as art galleries, museums, theatres or alternative music venues have also offered more safe places for some LGBT people to socialise.

The collection includes material ranging from items representing the hidden underworld of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ to feather boas worn at Garlands nightclub. Some of the places represented here exist today but many well-loved LGBT venues and places have been erased from the city due to closure or demolition, only their memory survives.




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