Ken Pilling

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Ken Pilling (centre) at the Burnley meeting
Ken Pilling born c. 1936 (aged 34 in 1970)[1] was the landlord of the Merchant Hotel, Blackburn in the 1970s.

He was one of the team hoping to set up an Esquire Club in Burnley in 1970, and was described as "Northern Convenor of the Committee for Homosexual Equality".[2] He was one of the speakers at the meeting in Burnley Library and is played by Dean Michael Gregory in The Burnley Buggers' Ball.

In 1973 he acted as a link man between Blackburn’s gay community and the police in connection with the murder of John Kirby.[3]

He may later have moved to other pubs in Blackburn:

"Ken had the Wheatsheaf on Mincing Lane for a while and then The Adelphi on the boulevard."[4]

Further reading


  1. Amiable Warriors, page 207.
  2. "Burnley site for new 'club' ", Burnley Express and News, 26 May 1971, quoted in Amiable Warriors, page 209.
  3. "The murder that sent shockwaves through Blackburn", Lancashire Telegraph, 5 August 2014.
  4. Anonymous posting on AccringtonWeb.