Pride ‘87 at the Southbank Centre

In 1985 there was a change of direction for Pride celebrations in London.

Jubilee Gardens (between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye) became the venue for what was billed as ‘the biggest non-stop festival of entertainment in celebration of Lesbian & Gay Pride in Europe’. This event, The Lesbian and Gay Pride Carnival in the Gardens ran until 1988.

The photos in this collection depict the 1987 event, which included performances by Bronski Beat, Hazell Dean, Hope Augustus and the Beverley Sisters. These fascinating snapshots were found among the archive files of former Southbank Centre special events manager John Gill.

Audience seated inside the marquee at the Pride ‘87 Carnival

Marquee audience, Pride ‘87

Following the Pride parade, the afterparty for Pride '87 was held at Jubilee Gardens, organised by Capital Gay and the Greater London Council. The venue included a cabaret tent, disco marquee and outdoor main stage.

This photograph shows the audience seated inside the disco marquee in the early evening.

Two young men pose for a photograph at Pride '87 Carnival which took place at South Bank's Jubilee Gardens
Two young attendees of Pride '87

Young Pride attendees

Two young men pose together inside the Disco Marquee at Pride 1987 Carnival.

The photo is dated as 27 June 1987

Hope Augustus appears on stage at Pride '87 Carnival in London's Jubilee Gardens
Hope Augustus singing acapella as part of the Pride ‘87 Carnival

Hope Augustus at Pride ‘87

Hope Augustus performs on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival. Early on in her career, the Nottingham born artist regularly performed at London venues during the 1980s. Augustus went on to perform on the West End stage in a number of musicals including The Lion King and Marilyn and Ella.

Photo is dated as 27 June 1987

Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat performs at Pride '87 Carnival at Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, London
Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat performs

Bronski Beat at Pride ‘87

Bronski Beat’s Steve Bronski (aka Steve Forrest) performs on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival in Jubilee Gardens. Bronski is still performing and in 2017 released Out & About, a previously unreleased Bronski Beat album from the year in which this photograph was taken, 1987.

Plan for the site of Pride '88 at Southbank Centre, London
Plan for the site of Pride ‘88 at Jubilee Gardens

Pride ‘88 site plan

The 1988 Pride Festival was the last year the official celebrations took place in Jubilee Gardens. There were logistical difficulties in the run up to the event, as Erasure – both topping the list of performers and supplying the stage – had neglected to supply any technical specifications due to being on tour.

The main stage on this provisional site map, created a little over a month before the event, is the only structure lacking dimensions.

Drag artist David Dales performs in the cabaret tent at Pride '87 Carnival at London South Bank
Drag artist David Dale performs

Cabaret performance at Pride ‘87

Drag artist David Dale performs in the Cabaret tent at Pride ‘87 Carnival. Dale would have been a familiar face in 1987, having made several appearances in Eastenders the previous year as John Fisher, a drag artist hired to perform at The Queen Vic. Still performing, Dale took part in events celebrating Birmingham Pride in 2019.

Photo is dated as 27 June 1987.

Quaker Dykes sign, photographed at Pride '87 Carnival in Jubilee Gardens, London
Quaker Dykes’ labrys and placard

Quaker Dykes

For the first time since organising a Carnival after the parade, 1987 saw the introduction of a 'Women Only' space. This move by the organisers was contentious, with the year's programme urging for men to respect the spaces, and the right to create it.

Three singers perform at Pride '87 Carnival at London's South Bank
Three singers perform on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival

Singers perform at Pride ‘87

A trio of singers are pictured performing on the Pride ‘87 Carnival main stage. We're not 100% sure who these performers are, though we have had it suggested that they include Shirley Lewis and Dee Lewis. Can you confirm this? Do you know who the third performer is? Get in touch with our archive, or via social media to let us know.

Photo is dated 27 June 1987.

Audience members at the Pride ‘87 Carnival Main Stage

Main stage audience at Pride’ 87

Audience members stand and watch the main stage at Jubilee Gardens in 1987.

The stage was the venue for over five hours of entertainment, hosted by 1980s ITV star Chistopher Eymard. The day’s events also included a speech from future Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, then head of the Greater London Council.

Photo is dated as 27 June 1987.