2 years ago

The history of the South London Gay Community Centre

The South London Gay Community Centre is a great example of why Brixton has always been known for its forward thinking community. Here’s a little bit about it’s history.

South London Gay Community Centre, 78 Railton Road, Brixton. 1974-76.

Opened in 1974, the South London Gay Community Centre occupied two floors of 78 Railton Road. The centre was used to host meetings of the South London Gay Liberation group, who organised all kinds of events (everything from wrestling classes to a knitting circle) as well as critical services like a telephone help-line.

South London Gay Community Centre workmen preparing to board up after the eviction April 1976

In 1976, the same year that the law stating homosexual acts between men over the age of 21 was passed in the UK, the New York drag group Hot Peaches visited the centre in Brixton, showing the global impact the centre was having.

The fresh law meant that many gay members of the public still felt, and were treated like, second class citizens in the UK. The centre became a safe haven for many people because of this, it became a hub of a (then) radical, outwardly gay community.

Though the centre closed in 1976, the spirit continued. The Brixton Gays, as they were then known, also supported other movements within Brixton, such as the Anti-Nazi League, the South London Squatter Movement and they showed solidarity towards the black community after the riots of ’81.

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