London’s oldest LGBT+ venue, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, needs your help to survive coronavirus

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, cars running by it

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London’s oldest surviving LGBT+ venue where Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana once went boozing, is crowdfunding for its survival.

The iconic South London venue has a £50,000 fundraising target.

Writing on the fundraising page, James Lindsay, the RVT’s CEO and managing director, said: “The team here are determined to make sure that The RVT continues to be a safe space for every member of the LGBTQ+ community and a place that supports talent of every kind regardless of gender, race, ability, or age.”

The legendary gay bar is where Labour’s Emily Thornberry declared herself a “gay icon”, after DJing at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in 2016 to support the election campaign of London’s mayor Sadiq Khan.

Built in 1863, the Vauxhall venue is Grade II listed has stood proud for more than 150 years.

“During the lockdown we have received many messages of support from performers, promoters and our loyal customers, many of whom have asked if they can donate to the upkeep and running costs and help to keep our much loved venue safe,” the fundraiser says.

Outlining that the only financial support the RVT is eligible for is reduced business rates and staff on the government’s furlough scheme, the fundraiser says that the landlord who owns the building will not consider reducing the rent while the bar is closed.

“When we do reopen it is likely to be with severe restrictions on numbers, which means our income will be greatly reduced going forward,” it adds.

“Therefore we have decided to set up a GoFundMe page so that people who want to and are able to make a contribution, can now do so.

“All monies donated will be put towards our high operating costs and the fabric upkeep of the building. We want to continue to provide a truly diverse platform and range of LGBTQ+ events with all our wonderful associated artists. “