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The Peace Centre, a gay gathering place


Belinda was employed at the near Moor Street, next to Reddington’s Rare Records, from 1981 until 1985 when it closed. The core of its clientele were anarchists, anti-nuclear activists and gay people. “At the time there weren’t many ‘gay gathering places’ and the ones there were tended to be short-lived or without a fixed venue so the provided a focal point. The gay boys from a teenage group would come on Saturday afternoon to do each other’s hair”. A small group of fascists came to harass people at the Peace Centre because they were left wing and because they knew there were gay people there. “They came in once and threw paint over a woman who was behind the stall and then they used to write things in the underpass. One of my treasured memories is of one of the gay men who was rather tall, the partner of the man who ran the place, was sitting behind the counter and these three young lads came in shouting something hugely imaginative like … you know… communist faggot… and this man then quietly got up and rose to his full height of six foot five and you never saw anybody run out of the door so fast – that’s all he had to do!”

Contributed by: Belinda, 60

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