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Added 26th August 2016 by Abigail

Featured in the following Online Exhibitions:
Queer Noise
Square Peg, Round Hole: decades of (gay) involvement in Manchester.


Manchester Gay Centre, 61a Bloom Street

(Image source: BBC People's History of Pop.)

Paul South, a former member of the largely forgotten but pioneering out gay rock band, Handbag form London, plays a gig at Manchester's Gay Centre, which at this point was on Bloom Street.

Songwriter & broadcaster Tom Robinson said of Handbag in 1977:

'What makes me mad is that music papers are always reviewing relatively obscure bands from America like Television or the Tubes, but they ignore bands in England like Handbag - who make the Tubes look like Andy Pandy. They've been banned everywhere they've been on. People can't see them.'

Emily Crompton - an expert on the inspiring history of the Gay Centre (now known as the LGBT Centre) in Manchester writes:

"Manchester's Gay Centre was housed in 61A Bloom Street from 1981 – 1988 and it accommodated a huge host of services including several phone lines including Lesbian Link, Manchester Gay Switchboard, and Friend as well as having meeting rooms. It
ran a youth club and launched a light night café called SNAX to bring in much needed revenue. Mancunian Gay, a magazine, (later Gay Life) was also launched in this basement, as was Lesbian Express (but that only lasted for 3 issues!)."

Eventually, in 1988, funds were raised for a purpose-built LGBT Centre in Manchester on Sidney Street (the first of its kind in Europe) and it remains there to this day.

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