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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 285 > Stepping out

Stepping out

In a one-off special, we turn back the clock to look at the gay scene in the Fifties and Sixties, before the partial decriminalistation of homosexuality

ERIC THOMPSON, 82, LONDON

When I came down to London from Yorkshire as a student in the mid-1950s, there was no easy way to find out about gay life. It was only when I read one of Peter Wildeblood’s books and noticed a mention of Speakers’ Corner that I discovered my first trolling ground in Hyde Park. At first I was very nervous going there, but I soon discovered the pleasures of mixing in the closely packed crowds milling round the speakers.

I was very naïve and had no way of finding gay clubs, to which you needed a member’s introduction — until I got a room in a house where it turned out that there was another gay man, Anthony, with whom I became increasingly friendly. He took me to two clubs he used: the Rockingham, which was behind Shaftesbury Avenue, and the A&B, close to Wardour Street in Soho. Going with a close friend meant it was not something to worry about unduly, and I never felt at risk there from the police or otherwise.

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About Attitude

On the cover, exclusive interview with The Walking Dead star Daniel Newman Plus: Declan McKenna talks pop & politics; First Dates’ Fred Sirieix gets Active; previewing the BBC’s major new gay drama; one British man tortured for being gay; cruising through the years; and Attitude joins the great PrEP debate.