Today, the east end has a growing reputation as one of Europe’s most creative enclaves, attracting a buzzing community of artists, creative folk and free thinkers. The East End: Past & Present tour has been designed to showcase the old and the new. We visit where Quentin Crisp posed for nude art classes in the 1930s, hence the title of his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant and the site of a ‘Molly House’ – a gay, bisexual men’s pub raided in 1727. Along the way you will see where Philosopher and Jeremy Bentham was born who then went onto write Offences Against One’s Self – the earliest defence of homosexuality. We introduce you to a minimum of fifteen places of historic and contemporary significance as you move beyond the tourist trail to discover an alternative view of London life.
However, we don’t forget today on your quest as we point out the studios of renowned, eccentric British conceptual artists Gilbert and George, and the pubs and neighbourhoods that attract London’s gay creative and style elite.
For gay visitors to London this is a journey of discovery and insight as we remember the significant role the East End played, and continues to play (albeit against a very different social and political landscape) in the lives of gay men across the UK and the world.