‘Gay’ Pet Shop Celebrates 40th Birthday

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When ‘Gay Lyfe’, a pet shop in Levenshulme was opened in 1965, the word gay had a different meaning for its founder and owner, George Ormond.

The shop that sells a range of pets including hamsters and tropical fish was so named to stand out from the crowd, not because it sold gay animals, as manger Richard Hanley explained to the Manchester Evening News. “When he [Ormond] called it Gay Lyfe he just wanted to be a bit unusual.

“He meant gay in the usual sense of being happy – meaning animals can have a happy life as pets. He added the y to make it a bit different.

“It does seem to cause some confusion now though, and we’re frequently phoned by people saying they’re new to the Manchester scene and want to know good places to go.

As the gay community in the northern city as grown, so has the confusion amongst shoppers who have even confused the business for an escorting agency. “We’ve also had requests for gay male and female escorts,” Mr Hanley told reporters.