CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Mystery Black Cap pub admirer applies for building to be listed

Hope that protective status could help mission to re-open famous lesbian and gay bar

08 February, 2017 — By William McLennan

Protesters outside the pub after its sudden closure nearly two years ago

CAMPAIGNERS battling to re-open the famous Black Cap pub are trying to trace a mysterious supporter who has quietly applied to have the building given protected listed status.

Historic England confirmed that they are currently considering an application to list the historic gay bar and cabaret venue in Camden Town, which was closed suddenly in 2015.

Former customers have been leading attempts to protect its legacy for nearly two years.

The Black Cap Foundation, which grew out of protests held in Camden High Street, said they have no idea who made the application. The Foundation’s Chris Clark said: “All we know is that they seem to be doing a reasonably professional job. We haven’t got a clue who they are, but we have ruled out a number of people that it can’t be. If you can find them, we would love them to come forward and work with us.”

He said the move was welcomed by the group, adding: “The only reason we haven’t done it ourselves is it is such a huge administrative task. It’s a lot of hard work. “We’ll certainly buy them more than a drink for that.”

Ben Walters, from the campaign, said: “A listing can only help the Black Cap Foundation’s mission to bring the pub back into use as a space of community and culture for LGBTQ+ people and their friends.”

Highlighting the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which was given Grade-II listing in 2015, Mr Walters said: “The Black Cap is one of the country’s only other venues with a queer performance history pre-dating partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, and it warrants the same recognition.

“The pub is also very special architecturally, all the way up to the bust of Mother Black Cap that looks down on Camden High Street.”

Historic England said they are in contact with the owners, Kicking Horse Limited, and are arranging a site visit, which will “inform their advice”. They will then issue advice to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, who make the final decision on all listings.

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