One of London’s first gay pubs has been added to Historic England’s register of protected buildings.
The Boltons, in Earl’s Court Road, sits just minutes from the flat the late Princess Diana shared with friends before marrying Charles and was famous for its raucous nightlife.
Kensington and Chelsea council applied to get the bar grade II listed status because of its LGBTQ+ past, including serving as a respite for gay people in the mid-Fifties and being part of Earl’s Court’s gay scene throughout the Seventies and Eighties. Historic England said the building’s “Flemish Revival” style and interiors also mean it should be protected and its new status was rubberstamped this week. It was famous for hosting cabaret shows and drag performances, including by late Queen mother impersonator Dockyard Doris. But the venue was also subject to numerous police raids and homophobic campaigns to get it shut down.
The pub closed in 2022, earmarked for redevelopment. Now any plans for the site will have to ensure original fixtures and fittings and history is preserved.
From police raids to Princess Diana living next door, The Bolton pub in Earl’s Court had seen it all. One of the capital’s earliest hubs for the gay community, it has now been granted Grade II listed status, in recognition of its historic importance. Kensington and Chelsea council and Historic England have rightly recognised not only the building’s architectural value, but the pub’s role in London’s LGBTQ+ history and as a core part of Earls Court’s thriving gay scene in the Seventies and Eighties.