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HMS Victory in 1900
Portsmouth, sometimes known as "Pompey" is a city in southern England, mainly located on Portsea island. it is a unitary authority, within the ceremonial county of Hampshire. Portsmouth has long been one of the UK's main naval ports, and is the home of HMS Victory and other historic naval ships.

LGBT history

In 1628 George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham was murdered in the Greyhound public house in Old Portsmouth.

Following the prosecution of Oscar Wilde for gross indecency, in 1895 the city council committee responsible for libraries agreed that all works by Oscar Wilde should be removed from library shelves and destroyed [1].

Portsmouth CHE was formed in 1972 [2]. The group first met on 30 June with 14 CHE members present. It proposed to Head Office that it be called the South East Hampshire Group [3]. The group folded soon after [4] but was revived in February 1975, only to fold again [5]. A new society, called Portsmouth Gay Group (CHE) was set up in January 1980 [6]. Portsmouth Gay Community Society moved to meetings at the King's Hotel in 1981. Portsmouth CHE Group was reformed in September 1982 after dividing off from the Portsmouth Gay Community Society [7].

Portsmouth Gay Group leaflet 1980 (HCA at LSE)

In the 1970s one of Portsmouth's longest running gay pubs was the Balmoral Bar in Landport Terrace [8]. In 1975 the Boys and Girls Gay Society (known as BAGGS) was founded in Portsmouth. Over 150 people attended a disco held by BAGGS at its inaugural event in the Horseshoe Pub in Hampshire Terrace, Southsea in May 1975 [9]. In the 1980s there was a nightclub called Granny's in the Tricorn Centre which hosted gay discos [10].

The Portsmouth Defence is a defence sometimes used in trials for assault or murder, in which the defendant claims to have been suffering from "homosexual panic" in response to a sexual approach.


  1. Note from Portsmouth Library and Archive Senior Archivist 18 Dec 2019
  2. page 575 Peter Scott-Presland 'Amiable Warriors' (2015) volume 1 Paradise Press
  3. Letter David Eddy to Paul Temperton 2nd July 1972 in HCA at LSE
  4. in August 1973
  5. Gay News number 65 Feb 1975
  6. David Sweeney, Covenors report in HCA LSE
  7. Gay Solent Newsletter no 48 April 1983. Copies of some of the Gay Solent newsletters are held in the Hall-Carpenter Archives at the London School of Economics Ref HCA/CHE/7/55
  8. Gay News listings March 1974 issue number 43
  9. Gay News number 71 and also number 73 19 June 1975
  10. Kim Miller interviewed by Y-Services Voices for Heritage Project 2017-8 Interview recording held at in Wessex Sound Archive at Hampshire Record Office, UK