The Admiral Duncan one of London’s oldest gay pubs

LGBT Posted by gaytravel on  Wed, Sep 29th, 2021 @ 4:01:35 PM  321  1    

The Admiral Duncan one of London’s oldest gay pubs

‘The Admiral Duncan’ is located on Old Compton Street in Soho. The place has been running since 1832, making it one of the oldest gay bars in London. You can order your seat inside via an app ‘MyPub’ to avoid waiting at the bar.

The ‘MyPub’ app

It is recommended to download the app at home in advance before visiting a cafe. To download via Google play or App Store go to:

In 1999, the pub was bombed by neo-Nazi David Copeland, killing three people and injuring 79.

Origin of name ‘The Admiral Duncan’

Adam Duncan 1st Viscount Duncan<br>by John Hoppner

Adam Duncan 1st Viscount Duncan by John Hoppner

The pub is named after the Admiral Adam Duncan of the same name. He defeated the Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797.


History of ‘The Admiral Duncan’

Early years

 June 1832  – Dennis Collins, an Irish ex-sailor with wooden legs lived in the pub. He was charged with high treason for throwing stones at King William IV at Ascot Racecourse. Sentenced to death, however, his sentence was quickly commuted to life imprisonment. He was then transported to Australia.

 December 1881  – A customer was given eight years of hard labor for several violations after goalkeeper William Gordon kicked him out of Admiral Duncan’s cafe.

 February 1930  – In the 1920s, The Admiral Duncan was a meeting place for mob boss Charles “Darby” Sabini and the members of his gang. On the day in question, this culminated in a massive brawl in the pub between members of the Sabini gang and their rivals, the Hoxton Gang. There were a number of serious injuries. Including a man whose throat had been cut with a broken glass. Two of the Hoxton Gang were sentenced to five and three years and one member of the Sabini gang to 12 months.

 1953  – Dylan Thomas lost the only copy of his famous radio drama ‘Under Milk Wood’ in the pub. He had left it there during a binge drinking. Later, his radio producer, Douglas Cleverdon, found it there and managed to follow Thomas’ steps.

 1980s  – ‘The Admiral Duncan’ has become known as a gay bar. However, it is not exclusive. It still attracted a diverse audience.

More than &egue;&egue;one aggressive attack

 30 April 1999  – In the evenings, The Admiral Duncan was the scene of something that got out of hand to move nails in the air with great acceleration. Three people died and about 70 were injured. Some had lost eyes or limbs. Read: Commemoration tragedy after 20 years (BBC)


The attack itself was the third of a one-man campaign. She was posted by neo-Nazi David Copeland. He tried to increase ethnic and homophobic tensions. His earlier attacks, on April 17 in Brixton, south London, and April 24 in Hanbury Street in Whitechapel, east London, had made Londoners wary.

The following Sunday, a large open-air gathering spontaneously formed in Soho Square. Thousands attended. i.a. the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police gave a speech. He maintained a site outside the pub for investigation until they found the culprit. The van was fully manned with openly gay and lesbian police officers. This marked a turning point in the LGBT community vs Metropolitan Police relationship.

In the bar is a commemorative chandelier with an inscription and a plaque to commemorate the dead and injured. The playwright Jonathan Cash, who then worked for Gay Times was one of the injured. He later used the experience as the basis for his play ‘The First Domino’ (The Guardian). A psychiatrist interviews a fictional terrorist in a high-security prison.

 Morning of October 30, 2004  – Assistant bar manager David Morley, 37, from Chiswick, West London, one of those injured in the bombing, and was murdered in London after a robbery or homophobic assault. He and a friend were beaten up near London’s Hungerford Bridge and Waterloo station on the South Bank.
 December 2005  – Four youths are found guilty of murdering Morley. Reece Sargeant (21), Darren Case (18) and David Blenman (17), all from Kennington, south London, were each sentenced to 12 years. A fifteen-year-old girl, Chelsea O’Mahoney (aged fourteen at the time of the incident) was sentenced to eight years in prison. The jury had handed down a manslaughter verdict as they are allowed to do.

Rainbow flags controversy

 Late 2005  –  The Westminster City Council ordered ‘The Admiral Duncan’ and all other LGBT bars and gay businesses operating in its jurisdiction to remove their pride flags. The flags were advertising and that was prohibited by the local development plan. Companies had to apply for advertising permits to fly the flags. However, some companies that submitted their applications were refused. Following accusations of homophobia, the ‘I Love Soho’ campaign and intense pressure from the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the Council has reversed its policy. Now companies are allowed to fly rainbow flags without request.



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The Admiral Duncan one of London’s oldest gay pubs

 29 Sep '21 
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The Admiral Duncan one of London’s oldest gay pubs

'The Admiral Duncan' is located on Old Compton Street in Soho. . . .

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