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logo Gay Centre in Sauchiehall St. Glasgow: LGBT History Scotland
logo Gay Centre in Sauchiehall St. Glasgow: LGBT History Scotland
The UKs first Gay Centre in Sauchiehall St.

Opens in 1977

Closes in 1982

In 1977 the Scottish Minorities Group opened the first Gay Centre in the UK at 534 Sauchiehall St., Glasgow. A photograph shows the entrance two months before it was due to open. Three of the people shown in the photo, plus one other lurking in the background, were involved in setting up the exhibition Becoming Visible (pictures from that exhibition) put on by OurStory Scotland at the Glasgow LGBT Centre in November, 2002..

Gay News Issue 103, 1976 wrote: "SMG opens centre in Glasgow, from Ian Dunn. Sheila MacAskill and the Glasgow Branch have been successful in their search for premises for the group. At a special General Meeting on 21 September, members voted unanimously to purchase property at the west end of Sauchiehall (pronounced: "suckyhall"!) Street. The building, which lies behind the Charing Cross Hotel was once occupied by the Scottish Youth Hostels Association.

The premises, which cost £8,000 will prove a great challenge to gay men and women in Glasgow. The SMG Group will have to raise a healthy weekly income from discos and other activities to help finance the venture. With this in mind, SMG recently spent £600 buying a superb disco and lights, and the equipment was greeted with acclaim at the recent Forum in Stirling.

Sheila is delighted that her full-time work has brought such early results. Her task complete, she has resigned her salaried position and has resumed her voluntary work for the group."

The centre was opened on 8 September by the director of social work for Strathclyde. (Glasgow Herald 1977 Sep 9, 2i d). Mr. Edwards said that he hoped the new centre would become "an island of understanding and asylum of support" which would compensate for the loneliness that homosexuals often experienced. However, his decision to accept the Scottish Minorities Group's invitation was not without controversy as quoted in the Glasgow Herald 1977 Aug 27, 3a, P. Also Scotsman 29 Aug 1977

Celebrities who visited the centre included: (If you have any information about these visits or know of other personalities who visited please tell us more: email us.)

Tom Robinson of "Glad to be Gay" fame.
Teddy Taylor  He was MP for Glasgow Cathcart and several articles outlining his objections to support for SHRG can be seen.
Quentin Crisp after a performance of his show "The Naked Civil Servant."
Peter Maxwell Davies (see The Knitting Circle on him) allegedly visited the Centre: If you have any more information about this please email us.

Descriptions of the club and its activities:
SHRG Chairman's Report [extract], AGM 27 Mar, 1979 "The Gay Centre has been open for eighteen months."
Description of Centre Premises from survey of October 1979
Letter Describing purchase of centre and finance written by Malcolm Crowe in 1981

Closes in 1982
Picture at top L taken by Bill Condron (information from Bill McConachie 2007)



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