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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
25th May 1905 Born today: Binnie Barnes, London, actress (Adv of Marco Polo, Diamond Jim)
25th May 1878 Gilbert/Sullivans opera HMS Pinafore, premieres in London
The Gateways Club
The most famous of all lesbian bar's in the world.
Location: 239 Kings Road, Chelsea
Description: The Gateways club was a noted lesbian nightclub , in fact the longest-surviving such club in the world, opening in 1930 and legally becoming a members club 6 years later.
Nicknamed The Gates it was one of the few places where lesbians could meet openly during the 40's, 50's and 60's. Bisexuals too flocked to the Gateways, as did curious heterosexuals, and by 1967 owner Gina Cerrato made the club women-only. Diana Dors and Dusty Springfield visited.
For many women a visit to the Gateways was their first introduction to lesbian life. It was a green door leading down to a windowless cellar full of murals and smoke.
It eventually closed on Saturday 21 September 1985 after some years of only opening for a few hours each weekend.
The life of this large cellar club was central to the lesbian novel The Microcosm (1966) by Maureen Duffy. It can also be seen in 1968 film The Killing of Sister George.