Historic unveiling for The New Penny
The New Penny will be awarded a blue plaque this week in recognition of its contribution to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans community in Leeds over the last six decades.
The award marks a historic moment in the city’s history as the venue becomes the first building to be awarded a plaque for providing a safe venue for LGB&T people.
The plaque, awarded by the Civic Trust, will be unveiled by deputy leader of Leeds City Council and LGB&T champion Councillor James Lewis, on Wednesday 19 October at 5pm and marks the formal commemoration of the contribution The New Penny has made in Leeds.
Thought to be the longest running solely LGB&T venue outside of London, the idea to highlight the formidable contribution of the establishment to the city came following the listing of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London; this move gave the Tavern protected status for heritage as the UK’s oldest LGB&T venue. Heritage organisation Historic England are taking this work further; as part of the project Pride of Place, Historic England are recognising buildings and places that have helped to shape and influence LGB&T stories. The blue plaque provides a historic moment for the city and recognises the huge contribution The New Penny has made to Leeds.
Councillor James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“We are delighted to be able to mark The New Penny with a blue plaque and pay tribute to its contribution to the city over the years, in particular to our LGB&T communities. The New Penny is the longest running venue which has served the LGB&T community, an achievement that should be truly celebrated.
“Over the decades the New Penny has been an LGB&T venue there has been a social and political revolution including the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, campaigns against section 28 in the 1980s and 90s and the introduction of equal marriage in 2012. The pub is a fixture of the area that has now become renowned as the LGB&T quarter of the city centre.
“It’s ever-presence marks the long, and sometimes hidden, history of the LGB&T community in Leeds which we should be proud to celebrate today.”
Jeff Armitage, manager of The New Penny, said:
“We are extremely happy to be recognised with this honour, particularly as contributions of this kind have not been visibly acknowledged in the past. Leeds really does have a thriving LGB&T scene, which goes beyond The New Penny, and make Leeds such a popular destination to visit. I hope that the awarding of the blue plaque again puts the city in the spotlight.”