Me, Myself and I: Richard Kinchin


The owner of Sailors sauna in Limehouse adores a drop of Jack Daniel’s, had the time of his life at Miss Ross’ 50th birthday, and would love to visit Australia.

Where are you from originally?

My mother. No, seriously, East London, or some may say Essex, looking at my past history. Many a bus shelter.

And where do you live now?

The good old East End of London with my partner and about 900 different naked men over the weekends. Well, I do live over the sauna, so you could say I have always got someone laying under my bed.

What do you love about London and why?

The freedom to be who you want to be, and that there are no limits to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

What was the first gay venue you visited?

Well it’s a bit of a story, that. I did the Limehouse ‘walk of shame’, you could say. I started my night peacefully at the Old Ship then after a few little tipples I found myself a new friend, some old drag queen, or maybe a very ugly bird with stubble, who then dragged me over to the White Swan, and it was a night to remember, or so I am told. Thank fuck no one had smart phones then. But guess what? I found two more new friends without dresses and, after the Swan kicked us out, they showed me around a little well known place called Sailors. So I had a real good East End welcome to the gay scene.

Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?

That would have to be Sailors for me, as it’s just like being at home with all my family and friends.

What sets Sailors apart from other saunas?

It’s a bit like the old Woolworths pick ‘n’ mix in that you can pick up a jelly baby, an old half chewed toffee, the odd yogurt coated Brazilian nut as well as some Spanish raisins in chocolate. So it’s all up to what you fancy. It’s a friendly, laid back sauna with the only roof garden in London where you can top up you tan all over. And on three days we do a free buffet, so if you didn’t get his name in the darkroom or in that scrum you could always sit next to him and have seconds and get that name and number.

What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?

I see so many drama queens on a Friday/Saturday night shift, I don’t need to go to the theatre.

What is your guilty pleasure and why?

Jack Daniel’s.

Biggest extravagance?

Advertising in Boyz … keeps Stephen Vowles in a job.

Best gift you’ve ever received and why?

Life and the freedom to be what I am.

What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?

Keeping a sauna open in the East End of London and returning the name Sailors to it.

If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?

I don’t think I would. What’s done is done and I think it’s best to look forward and try and achieve your dreams.

What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?

That was about 20 years ago. It was Miss Ross’ 50th birthday party at the Angel in Stratford. She had put £500 behind the bar and put a free buffet on, it was fabulous. She even did an act it was amazing. It’s just a shame it was only me and plus one who attended, but we got well pissed. Thank you so much Miss Ross. Although thinking about it, that can’t be completely true – Miss Ross putting money behind the bar, it would never happen, would it?!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Always show someone respect if you want respect back. Enjoy life, say what you think to someone’s face and not behind their back. Always try and do one good thing everyday. Remember, what goes around comes around.

Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?

Everyone who stands up for the right of the community – thank you, to you all. Please keep up the good and necessary work.

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?

I don’t really do social media, sorry.

Where in the world would you like to visit before you die?

Australia as they like playing dirty with their balls.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Never forget to tell someone how special they are as you never know when you may or may not see them next.


Sailors is open daily at 570-574 Commercial Road, , Limehouse, London E14 7JD.

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