This weekend Central Station is celebrating 27 years as an independently owned and run LGBT venue with a party featuring Dave Lynn who was the very first act to perform there. The Kings Cross venue has seen all of the scene’s most popular cabaret acts on its hallowed stage, plus it’s home to many other nights including community groups, karaoke and even burlesque, plus the fetish venue The Underground Club, located downstairs. Owners Martin and Duncan will be there on Saturday to introduce Dave, and Duncan has written us a few words about the opening 27 years ago and just a few of the things they have achieved.
“Thursday 6 February, 1992, was the opening night of Central Station, our independently owned LGBT venue. That opening night we had cabaret from Dave Lynn and support provided by go-go dancers and door host, Yvette The Conqueror.
King’s Cross was very different then, drugs and prostitutes defined outsiders’ views of the area. Poor street lighting and many derelict buildings lined the route to the pub. There were attacks by thugs and often hostile comments from people, forcing us to erect metal shutters over the windows.
Shortly after we opened London’s Lesbian and Gay Centre was forced to close and as a result, many community groups then met at the pub and we were happy to provide free meeting space. Amongst them were such diverse groups as GMFA, North London Gay Bridge Group, SM Dykes, Outrage, London Rubbermen’s Club, Transgender London, Female to Male, Gay Muslim Group, London Friend, London Monday Group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and many more. Various sports groups have also met at the bar including Stonewall FC and both King’s Cross Steelers and Grace’s Cricket Club were formed here.
Many different fetish groups have established themselves with regular events in the club’s basement bar, now called The Underground Club. The bar has raised many tens of thousands of pounds for AIDS charities, other LGBT charities, Samaritans and The Listening Place. Although the Underground Club remains unchanged, Central Station now attracts a really diverse crowd and we see ourselves as ‘King’s Cross’ independent, alternative bar’.”