Boris Johnson backs listed status for Royal Vauxhall Tavern

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed making the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London of listed status, describing the venue as a “lynchpin” of the LGBT community.

The RVT is known as one of the oldest gay venues in London, and is renowned as the place where Lily Savage, Paul O’Grady’s comedy alter ego, made her name.

The local community raised concern after the pub was sold last October to an Australian company, putting its future in doubt amid redevelopment fears.

While Lambeth Council have afforded it special community status – meaning if it is sold again, the local community will be given the opportunity to buy it – campaigners want it designated a listed building to stop it from being closed or redeveloped.

Mr Johnson described the pub as a “lynchpin” of the LGBT community, and has written to Historic England to urge the venue to be given listed status.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said in a statement to PinkNews: “The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been a lynchpin at the heart of London’s LGBT community for more than six decades. This week, New York gave the Stonewall Inn landmark status, recognising its place in that city’s history.

“The RVT’s unique contribution to the vibrancy of London life should also be celebrated. It is a beacon that is known around the world and must be made a listed building so it can continue to shine for years to come.”

Paul O’Grady has also written to Historic England to back the proposed listing, saying: “I consider the venue to be my very own school of dramatic art.

“The Vauxhall Tavern was our village hall [during the AIDS crisis].”

Noting the closure of Camden’s Black Cap, Soho’s Madame Jojo’s and Hackney’s Joiners Arms, he writes that the pub “is now one of the few remaining venues to showcase new and old talent every week”, and “should be offered protection to withstand today’s developers”.

The comedian adds: “Without listing the threat to its future is all too real. With listing I know the community will rally round and ensure it remains an important venue for many decades to come.”

Stonewall co-founder Sir Ian McKellen has also written to support the application, and said: “I support the campaign to grant the Royal Vauxhall Tavern listed status.”