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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
19th December 1933 Born today: James Booth, London England, actor/writer (Zulu, Robbery, Revenge)
19th December 1885 Born today: F S Flint, London England, translator/poet (imagist movement)
19th December 1851 Artist J.M.W. Turner passed away in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London.
19th December 1811 The 2nd Ratcliff murders occur; of John & Liz Williamson, and Bridget Harrington.
19th December 1154 The Coronation of Henry II in Westminster Abbey.
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.