A queer Camden institution could be returning to London, following almost a decade out of action. The Black Cap pub, which closed in 2015, has been at the centre of a years-long campaign to reopen its doors. And now, an end looks to be in sight. Plans for a revamped version of The Black Cap have been lodged at Camden Town Hall.
Records of the pub date all the way back to 1751, when it was known as The Mother Black Cap. At the time, The Cap and its sister pub, The Mother Red Cap (now the World’s End) were some of the few buildings in the area. In fact, Camden can be said to have grown up around the two pubs.
The LGBTQ+ pub and venue was once an important site for London’s cabaret performers, making a name for it across six decades of performances. It’s in The Black Cap that Paul O’Grady perfected his Lily Savage act. Before his passing O’Grady was a vocal supporter of the venue’s reopening.
The pub closed almost a decade ago, when the then-owners, were denied permission to build flats above the pub.
As part of the campaign for the Camden High Street pub’s reopening, weekly pavement vigils are held to raise awareness and support for the venue.
Speaking to the Camden New Journal, performer and activist Alex Green shared his memories of the iconic pub:
“The Cap felt like a social club.
“It was a place where you would meet with your close friends – a place for birthdays, weddings, funerals, New Year’s Eve, those social landmarks.
“It was the least pretentious gay pub in the world, and was somewhere you could invite non-LGBTQ friends to come on our terms.”
While the reopening has not been 100% confirmed, Green praised Camden Council for their support and assistance. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for the return of The Black Cap.
Read all about the campaign to save The Black Cap here.