This Day In London’s History
1970: The first ever public gay protest in Britain is held at Highbury Fields.
Following the arrest (and alleged entrapment) of Louis Eaks for cottaging, the Gay Liberation Front (a name that always makes us think of The Life Of Brian) gathered on 27th November 1970 for a torchlight procession through Highbury Fields in protest. Reports differ as to how many protesters attended the procession, but it was clear that this was a turning point in the visibility of the gay rights movement in Britain. The event is commemorated by a triangular solid-bronze plaque that was unveiled in Highbury Fields in 2000.
The British chapter of the Gay Liberation Front had been formed about a month before this demonstration, inspired by the New York organisation of the same name. They went on to achieve recognition (and some notoriety) for their assertive actions, which included an occupation of the London offices of Time Out, disrupting a meeting organised by Mary Whitehouse, and severely annoying the publishers of a popular 1970s sex manual.
In August 1971, less than a year after their protest in Highbury Fields, the Gay Liberation Front organised a march along Upper Street. This is credited as the inspiration for the first London Gay Pride march, which took place in July 1972.
Londoner Of The Week
To be fair, Bob Cooper should rightfully have been last week’s Londoner of the Week, but we were too busy taking the piss out of the King of Pop to pay much attention. Nonetheless, as the new World Champion of Rock Paper Scissors, Mr. Cooper appears to be the only Londoner to have done anything vaguely useful in the last couple of weeks (and the only Briton to have won any sporting trophy recently) so we salute him. Although we’re not sure whether to do it with a big flat open hand, or a couple of prominent fingers, or a fist…
One Thing You Must Do In London This Week
This Friday, from midday until 8pm, the third Lamb’s Conduit Street Festival takes place in… erm… Lamb’s Conduit Street (a pleasant little road that runs north from Theobald’s Road in Holborn). The street is well known for its unlikely array of independent traders, who are keen to promote their little oasis of individualism to the rest of London, as evidenced by their willingness to celebrate it via the medium of ‘festival’. The day’s attractions are quite eclectic, including live music (of sorts), a tug of war, some “hugely popular Undertakers’ Games”, the (somewhat surreal) provision of lamb stew from the local hairdressers and synchronised scowling at Starbucks*.
* That last event, although quite probable, does not appear on the official list of organised events.