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Southampton is a city and unitary authority in southern England, and a major seaport. It was historically within Hampshire and is still grouped with Hampshire for ceremonial purposes.
Switchboard leaflet 1982

LGBT History

The Beaumont Society held its first 'full meeting' in a Southampton Hotel in 1966 [1].

Southampton CHE Group was founded in October 1972 by David Porter [2] The group initially met at Porter's home, then in 1974 at the Anchor in East Street, Southampton. A separate Women's CHE group was founded in September 1974 [3]. Gay News reported in Sept 1974 the opening of Southampton's first all gay club; Beau Brummel above the Ambassadors Club in St Mary Street [4].At that time the Robert Burns at 9 South Front was listed as a gay pub in Gay News [5], and the Anchor Inn in East Street was listed as a lesbian venue. An article in Gay News in 1974 claimed that there were 3,000 gays on the scene in Southampton [6]. The Tangier Club, once a gay club, was reported to be 'straight' by the end of 1975 [7].By 1975 Hickups gay club was located at the Magnum Club, 113 St Mary's Road [8].

The CHE Conference was held in Southampton in May 1976. On each day of the Conference a special broadsheet newspaper called 'Daily Gay' was published [9]. In October 1976 local CHE group held a very successful and well attended event at the Haymarket where Quentin Crisp spoke. In 1978 the group nearly folded [10]. The group moved to the Joiner's Arms. In 1979 Gay Solent was formed (Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth co-ordinating and producing a regular newsletter).

By 1977 Solent Gay Switchboard had been established in Southampton [11]. The telephone number in the 1980s was Southampton 37363 and phone lines were available three times a week.
Switchboard leaflet (back)

In 1982 there was a gay disco on Sundays at Nightingales near the Bargate [12]. At that time a Gay Youth Group met in Southampton on Sunday afternoons [13]. In the 1980s other gay clubs in the city included Smugglers and Warehouse [14]. In 1985 Southampton Council issued a pledge of equality which included 'not to discriminate against gay men or lesbians who apply for jobs with the council' [15]. In 1988 two gay men took an industrial tribunal case after the Victory Inn, Southampton, turned them down for a job without an interview [16].

Solent Pride events were held in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Events were spread over two weeks [17]. In 2012 there was a campaign to hold a Southampton Pride[18]. Pride was held in Southampton 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. No event was held in 2020 due to Covid-19 virus restrictions.

Southampton today

The Edge claims to be Southampton's only current gay nightclub, operating since 1995.[19] In the 1980s and 90s Magnums at 113 St Mary's Road was the main gay night spot. The London Hotel in Terminus Terrace hosts cabaret events.

Bi-Panic! Southampton (formally BiWessex) is a social group for 18+ bi/pansexual people, their friends and loved ones in Southampton, UK.[20].


  1. Beaumont Society website accessed 24.02.2019
  2. Gay Solent. Newsletters of the Gay Groups of Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth. Held in the LSE Hall Carpenter Archives Ref HCA/CHE/7/55. Issue 41 Sept 1982 has an article by Phil King 'Ten Years of Southampton CHE'
  3. Gay News number 59 1974
  4. Gay News no 55 Sept 1974
  5. Gay News number 50 July 1974
  6. Gay News 5 Dec 1974
  7. Gay News number 85 Dec 1975
  8. Gay News number 64 Feb 1975 reports that gay women were calling for a boycott of the Magnum Club because no women were admitted to the gay club nights
  9. Copies in the LSE Hall Carpenter Archives HCA/CHE8/29
  10. A vote of 7 votes to 5 votes at a CHE meeting in April 1978 saved the group (Winchester Gay Group Newsletter Apr 1978)
  11. Winchester Gay Group newsletter no 11 Sept 1977 reports that the Switchboard is open Wed evenings on Southampton 32724 and that they average about 5 calls each Wednesday evening
  12. Gay Solent Newsletter no 43 Nov 1982
  13. Gay Solent Newsletter no 44 Dec 1982,and 'Gay Youth' No 1 page 3 (June 1981) which states 'In Southampton the gay youth group emerged at the same time as the gay soc collapsed'.
  14. Information from Mark Ovenden
  15. Gay Times April 1985 page 14
  16. The Pink Paper 14 Jul 1988
  17. Copies of the itineraries and other documents relating to Solent Pride (in Southampton) are held at the London School of Economics Hall-Carpenter Archives
  20. (accessed 5 Jul 2019