You are not logged in. Signup to contribute or login! Not recieved your activation email? Click here to send it again.

Meeting women at the Gateways, London


B: “I spent several years trying to decide if I was lesbian or bisexual. I had been involved with women in short term relationships dating somebody for a couple of months and I had lived with one woman for 8 - 9 months. The main place I met women was The . The first woman I slept with in America was 10 years older than me and British and she had talked about 'The Gates', and so shortly after arriving in , I remember going. I knew it was members only and therefore I wasn’t sure how you got in. I remember going and waiting outside until a couple of women came by and asking and them taking me downstairs. That night you could get in as a guest for 5 shillings; it was 2/6 for members and a pint was a shilling. I came as a guest several times until Smithy of Jean and Smithy said ‘Oh come on, you keep showing up here, it’s about time you stopped being a guest isn’t it? You’d better be a member.’ (Kensington and Richmond lesbian group) was just starting, so I went along to Kenric, which was terribly earnest at the time. There was the photography club that got up at 5:00 am to go and take pictures of Hampstead Heath, and the Derby and Joan club for women who had been together over 10 years. I remember going to various social things then. There was also a club called The Paddington and the Robin Hood which was an after hours club which people sometimes went on to.  The Robin Hood had a fairly substantial number of women who were prostitutes with their lesbian lovers, and also a certain number of male/female couples. So it was definitely a rougher and seedier club than The Gates.”

“Then I got married in 1973, and had a child in 1974. The marriage split up in 1975 I was about 25 and Sam was a year old and it was at that point that I came up to Birmingham”.

Contributed by: Betty Hagglund, 50

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor