The West End has always been a part of London that welcomes the gay community and with its wide variety of queer-friendly locations, it became the heart of British gay life and has continued so for decades. The secret club life of Soho will be brought back to life in a unique collaboration between The National Trust and The National Archives called “Queer City: London Club Culture 1918-1967”.

To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967, they have recreated one out of many queer friendly clubs from this period in1934, called The Caravan. The Caravan was known as ‘London’s most bohemian rendezvous’ and was as a members club that functioned as a safe meeting space during a time when being gay would lead to prosecution and imprisonment.

The club was both opened and closed the same year after a police raid, which unluckily often took place at these types of venues. The recreation will take place in a location very close to the original site called Freud Café-Bar and has been done so by using police evidence.

Inside the reconstructed club you will be able to see imagery, police statements, court reports and even letters from the former club owner of the Caravan and how they have been used to create this magical step back in time. Everything from the china, to the chairs and to the patterns on the hanging garments of the wall, has been made as close to historically accurate as possible. The setting will allow you to step into and transport you back to the once “most unconventional spot in town”.

The purpose of this event is to bring enlightenment into the LGBTO+ history and how we have developed from that era into today’s modern society and culture. London´s Creative Director for the National Trust, Joseph Watson says,  “While the project will be an opportunity to celebrate the partial decriminalisation of same sex relationships, it will also confront the realities of those lives that were fettered, destroyed, or worse, by prejudice of that era. It provides a timely reminder of the importance of side-lined cultures to our national heritage.

At Freud Café-Bar, there will be an exciting programme of themed talks, debates and performances capturing the spirit of The Caravan and wider queer club culture including cocktails from that era. This recreation is also part of a month of tours of LGBTQ+ heritage and queer club culture throughout Covent Garden and Soho.

35mm photography and text by Josefin Rickan

‘Queer City: London Club Culture 1918-1967’ will take place at Freud Café-Bar in London’s Soho from Thursday 2 – Sunday 26 March. Tours and events can be booked at