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Secret London gay bar opposite pub that banned black people
The "shebeen" was incredibly popular with the LGBTQ+ and black communities

[Image: 0_Getty-Brixton-Riots-2.jpg]
The notoriously racist The George pub was destroyed during the 1981 Brixton Riots (image of workers clearing debris after the first riot)

A secret gay bar owned by a black bisexual woman opened on a quiet street in Brixton in 1977, across from a pub notorious for not allowing black or gay people inside.

Pearl Alcock, originally born in Kingston, Jamaica, wanted to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community so she set up a shebeen – an unlicensed bar - in the basement of her clothing shop on Railton Road.

It was a risky decision to take at the time due to prominent racist and homophobic views.

The landlord of the pub nearby, The George which was on the corner of Effra Parade and Railton Road, was reportedly known to be a racist and attracted further anger from the local community when he banned gays in 1975.

The landlord was reported to the Race Relations Board for barring black people and the pub was destroyed in the 1981 Brixton Riots.

After the pub was burned down, the South London Press noted that it was “undoubtedly an act of revenge for years of racial discrimination".

[Image: 0_Getty-Brixton-riots.jpg]
After The George pub was destroyed in the riots, the South London Press noted that it was “undoubtedly an act of revenge for years of racial discrimination"

Pearl arrived in the UK in 1958 as part of the Windrush generation, taking 12 years to save up the £1,000 needed to open up her shop in Brixton.

She opened up the gay bar - called Pearl's Shebeen - around 1977, though exact dates are hard to confirm.

1977 London was not as accepting as today’s society, which is why the bar, also called a "shebeen", was kept secret, but that didn’t make it any less popular among the LGBTQ+ community.

It was the only gay bar operating in Brixton at the time, and after Pearl stopped selling alcohol in 1980 for fear of a police raid, many years would pass until another gay bar would pop up in the area.

There were plenty of underground gay bars across London, but most of them were dominated by white people, making Pearl’s bar unique.

Pearl herself was bisexual and clearly felt that there needed to be a space for the many black, gay people who lived in Brixton, but her shebeen allowed for both black and white LGBTQ+ people to mix, which was unseen anywhere else in London.

Today, the space where Pearl’s shebeen sat has been made into flats, as has most of Railton Road. But, her legacy and the memory of her welcoming gay space lives on.
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.
[-] The following 4 members Like andy's post:
  • ceez, CellarDweller, Cridders88, InbetweenDreams

Thank you for the lesson on gay history!!!
[Image: 51806835273_f5b3daba19_t.jpg]  <<< It's mine!
[-] The following 1 member Likes CellarDweller's post:
  • andy

(02-21-2021, 01:46 PM)andy Wrote: After the pub was burned down, the South London Press noted that it was “undoubtedly an act of revenge for years of racial discrimination".

Turns out being a racist homophobe gets your business burnt to the ground. (not that I condone arson, or violence for that matter)
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