Esquire Clubs

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Esquire Clubs was a venture promoted in 1967 by Allan Horsfall, Ray Gosling and others, with the aim of setting up a series of clubs for gay men, along the lines of COC in the Netherlands. It was envisaged the clubs would provide food and drink, dancing and entertainment, cultural activities, and a counselling service. The clubs, unlike the commercial clubs which already existed in a number of places, would be "not owned by any proprietor or organisation, but belonging to the members themselves and modelled on much the same lines as the Working Men's Club and Institute Union."[1]

An advert was placed in Private Eye and a number of subscribers recruited. However the idea was controversial among the gay community, and the Homosexual Law Reform Society did not support it.

Various venues were proposed in Bolton and other towns, and at one time the established Rockingham Club, Manchester was to be taken over as an Esquire Club, but this came to nothing. CHE (then still the Committee for Homosexual Equality), was closely associated with Esquire Clubs, and organised a public meeting in Burnley about a proposed club, which revealed considerable local opposition to the idea. In the end no clubs were set up, although a club on rather similar lines, but with no connection to Esquire Clubs, had been set up in Shardlow in 1970.[2]

References

  1. http://www.gaymonitor.co.uk/esquire1.htm
  2. Amiable Warriors Volume One, pages 175–234.