05 June 2015

Vassall councillors join campaign to save Vauxhall's historic Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Local Vassall councillors have joined a campaign organised by local community campaigners and supported by Lambeth Labour to protect the long term future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT).

The pub is one of the iconic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) venues in London, with a long history rooted in the community. Sadly, in the past year it has been sold to a developer who has suggested part of the building could be turned into a high end hotel, leaving its long term future in doubt.

To help prevent this happening, a community group, the RVT Future, have launched a campaign which has been backed by Lambeth Labour calling for the building to be listed by Historic England, a move that could help protect it from development. A few weeks ago Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth cabinet member for Jobs and Growth, urged local people to back the campaign, as has local Assembly member Val Shawcross.

Cllr Paul Gadsby, on behalf of the Vassall team, has also written to Historic England (see below) - and has urged as many residents as possible to write to them at: Trevor@HistoricEngland.org.uk

Dear Ms Trevor,

I wanted to write to you to ask for you to consider placing the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on the National Hertiage list. I know that you will have already received a letter from Cllr Jack Hopkins about this subject, and I wanted to draw particular attention to his comments in his letter below, which I fully support:

Why is the Royal Vauxhall Tavern so important to Lambeth Council? As a Council, we are proud that we have the highest percentage of people from the LGBT community living in the borough of any local authority in Britain and we are also proud of the fact that the LGBT community across London hold Vauxhall so dear to their hearts. As Cabinet member with responsibility for economic development, I am also very aware of the importance of LGBT businesses to the economy in the area. The area has a proud history as being a centre for LGBT culture and meeting places. Indeed, there are anumber of renowned LGBT venues in the area. None have a prouder history than the Royal Vauxhall Tavern which provides a unique and welcoming environment to the whole community and has a long and renowned tradition of cabaret. It is an LGBT venue which opens its arms to everyone in the local area as well as being important to the LGBT community across London. Its place in history as being the most enduring LGBT space in the city is unarguable.

In many ways the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is what makes Vauxhall so cherished as a place where people can be who they want to be, celebrate diversity and be simultaneously welcoming to people from both the local area and across our great city. I am particularly mindful that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has stood the test of time of being so cherished by the LGBT and wider community. There is no doubt that the venue’s heritage is related to the social and cultural history of the adjacent Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which is a place which has a long history of giving previously marginalised groups a sense of place and identify. Indeed, it is my view that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the very embodiment of providing a welcoming space for people to be themselves, and that it is now the sole reminder of the site’s longstanding cultural heritage. It must therefore be afforded the protection it deserves. The value of such spaces, their historic importance and importance to the community cannot be understimated.

In terms of my own thoughts, as a local councillor not too far from the RVT, I can certainly testify to its important cultural and historic value to many of my LGBT constituents. It is not just another London pub, it is an iconic building that is a real part of the local LGBT community as well as for many other residents in the area. I do hope that you will support Cllr Hopkin's request for it to be placed on the national heritage list.

Kind regards

Cllr Paul Gadsby