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There’s no place like Garlands!

21 July 2016 by Matt

Seasons Greetings2This morning we opened a new display – There’s no place like Garlands! – celebrating the iconic Liverpool nightclub,  to coincide with Liverpool Pride, 30-31 July.

About a year ago, I’d just started working on the Pride and Prejudice project and within a week I found myself in the Garland’s drag room uncovering the story of a club I actually knew very little about. Amongst the sequins and feather boas I learned the importance and significance behind the music and sparkle.

Garlands opened in 1993, the first after-hours gay club in Liverpool. In the early 1990s many saw Liverpool’s gay scene as seedy, underground and unable to offer anything as fresh and exciting as Manchester’s thriving gay clubs. All of that was about to change when Garlands opened on Eberle Street in the city centre.

“Homophobia was still rife from the backlash of the AIDS epidemic and Garlands was the first place everyone could mix. It brought love, respect and harmony to the community” – Lady Seanne, speaking in 2016.

NYE2It soon grew from strength to strength in the heart of Liverpool’s gay quarter. Despite arson attack, raids and threats from far-right groups Garlands is still thriving today, attracting thousands of clubbers every month. Now, people of all sexualities party into the early hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

In its 23 years the club has won numerous awards, has been featured in the fashion magazine Tatler, held club nights on the Mersey Ferries and in Ibiza, inspired a play, become the longest established Saturday resident dance night in the country and is a firm fixture on the Liverpool club scene.

The display, on the first floor of the museum, includes a range of camp, fun, promotional material produced for the club over the years, feather boas worn by the club’s flamboyant performers and a programme from ‘Drama Queen’, a production inspired by the Garlands scene.

We hope you’ll agree, there really is no place like Garlands!

  1. Beth says:

    Fabulous, can’t wait to see it!

    • Matt says:

      Fabulous it certainly is! Imagine a feather boa explosion in a Garlands flyer archive!

  2. John says:

    Garlands has spawned so many copycats and made being gay, trams and bi totally acceptable in Liverpool because it did not discriminate against any sexuality as long as you had the right attitude. Ironically it has rode on the back of a straight man.

    • Matt says:

      Couldn’t agree more, I’d never realised how important Garlands was to the LGBT story of Liverpool until working on the Pride and Prejudice project.

  3. Lawerence Muschick says:

    Runaway From the river to the street and find yourself with your face in the gutter You’re a stray for the salvation army There is no place like home

  4. Richard says:

    I started going there in 93, and made some truly amazing friends .It’s been over 20 years and we are all still close today.Even though we are scattered around the country .It truly broke down social barriers, and was a total messy fun riot to boot .

    • Matt says:

      You got there right at the start of it all then Richard? Love the description of it as a ‘messy fun riot’… I think that sums up my experiences there quite nicely too!

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