The Running Horse was a gay pub at 5 East Chapel Street, Mayfair, London W1. It had existed since at least 1869. East Chapel Street was renamed Trebeck Street by 1938. It is adjacent to Shepherd Market.
According to the National Archives, there was a court case in 1936, involving lesbianism and "undesirables".
The pub had been under police surveillance since 1933. SDI Gavin said:
- "...men of an effeminate nature do regularly use the house... [who] may be of sodomist tendencies... [But here is] nothing taking place... to which the police can take exception. The appearance of these effeminately-dressed young men may be repugnant to certain people but their conduct... is such that no objection can be taken."
The police had never prosecuted a landlord, preferring to indict individuals caught in the act. But the Canadian Military and Admiralty complained and the police were compelled to caution the landlord on section 44 of the 1939 Metropolitan Police Act (MPA): willfully and knowingly permitting disorderly conduct. When the landlord failed to comply with the ban on drunkenness and serving on cited importuners, he was prosecuted, convicted, fined and the pub was shut down in spring 1937.
The Met had established a precedent, from now on they used the MPA to prosecute proprietors and not the clientele who were more expensive to take action against. The MPA was used against pubs like the Fitzroy Tavern, White Horse, Billy's Snack Bar on Bouchin Street and the Ham Yard Café.
- http://pubshistory.com/LondonPubs/StGeorgeHanoverSquare/RunningHorseMayfair.shtml pubshistory.com
- Matt Houlbrook, Queer London, page 77. He calls it the Running Horse in in Shepherd's [sic] Market.