Now a Wetherspoons, the Prince of Wales began as a prestigious theatre, but by the 1960s and ’70s was a cinema showing “adult” films, and an occasional meeting place for gay and bisexual men.
Built in 1878, the Prince of Wales played host to some of British theatre’s biggest stars. Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier, Vivienne Leigh and Richard Burton all trod its boards. In the 1950s, as theatre’s popularity began to wain it shifted from life performance to cinema, and by the 1960s and ’70s had a programme that consisted largely of soft-core pornographic films.
“The Prince of Wales was a curious queer venue. I only went the once … if I remember correctly it was showing Emmanuelle II. I guess it was one of those ‘fumbling’ places for the married. So not an LGBTQ+ venue per se, just somewhere to cruise!”
“In terms of non drinking haunts the Prince of Wales soft porn cinema was where some guys, including bisexual/ married guys went for sex. Oooh it was fun!”