Other places associated with LGBT people


McArthur's Warehouse, Bristol, c.1980

  • Bristol Gay Centre, Gasferry Road
    McArthur’s Warehouse in Gasferry Road was home to Bristol’s only gay centre from 1978 to 1983
  • Clifton Hill House, Lower Clifton Hill
    Home of John Addington Symonds from 1851 until 1877
  • Hill Street, Totterdown
    Bristol Gay Switchboard was set up in 1975 and operated for the first three years from a house in Clifton Hill House, BristolHill Street
  • Newgate Prison, Newgate
    Bristol’s main prison in the 18th century where most of those convicted of homosexual acts before 1820 were imprisoned
  • The Pillory, Wine Street/Pithay junction
    The pillory was the usual punishment for men convicted of homosexual crimes not punishable by death (as well as other offences) in the 18th century
  • Cottages‘.
    ‘Cottages’ was gay slang for public toilets where some men sought sex.
Gay-friendly businesses
  • Greenleaf Book Shop, 82 Colston Street, BS1 5BB
    Founded c. 1983, this was a key ‘alternative’ facility for Bristol promoting green/eco-friendly ideas before they became mainstream, run on radical cooperative principles and always with a sympathetic attitude towards gay and lesbian issues and needs. Several early resources and community groups depended on it for meeting space, office facilities, as a postal address, or simply as an information exchange. It closed in July 2005 having struggled for some years to survive against the onslaught of internet book sales. The co-op members were left with a personal debt of £8,000.
  • Michael’s Restaurant, 129 Hotwell Road, BS8 4RU (mid 1970s to c. 1993)
    Never exclusively gay, though on many a weekend in the 1980s it might as well have been. The purple-red frontage and flamboyant gold-lettered name were a well recognised Bristol brand. Eating at Michael’s was always fun – large plates of rich food were served in two slightly kitsch rooms overflowing with palms and gilded mirrors, like the private supper rooms of an Edwardian music-hall. The handsome young waiters always caught your eye before you caught theirs.

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  3 Responses to “Other places associated with LGBT people”

  1. I was a regular customer at Greenleaf Bookshop throughout it’s time. They always had a good selection of Lesbian books of all kinds, calendars including Alison Bechdel’s ‘Dykes To Watch Out For’ calendars and books, postcards, badges, t-shirts, music CDs and tapes, mugs, magazines, etc. They also had a community noticeboard where Lesbians and other radical folk could advertise for flatmates, other housemates, lodgers, etc, I loved going there and still miss it. Fortunately a similar radical bookshop in Liverpool called ‘News From Nowhere’ has survived, has a website and does mail order http://www.newsfromnowhere.co.uk

  2. LOVED going to Michael’s at Christmas in the 80s. Dark & twinkly & bedecked with countless decorations, it was like the best Santa’s grotto. Always remember the framed photo of a toadstool too, gloriously phallic and set centre stage 😉

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