BRIXTON heART ROOM is located in the so-called ‘Brixton Gay Community’, a cluster of houses in Railton and Mayall Road, their backsides facing each other across a shared garden. The premises, which were owned by the GLC (Greater London Council), had been squatted in the mid 1970’s by a group of gay and lesbian activists, many of whom were involved in the early Gay Liberation Movement. The housing project was only one of a number of Brixton-based gay/feminist initiatives and activities, far too numerous and ‘colourful’ to be covered here.
Unfortunately, no comprehensive history of 'Brixton Gay Community' and the radical political network it was part of seems to exist, but personal accounts, images and other references can be found on http://www.urban75.org/blog/the-brixton-fairies-and-the-south-london-gay-community-centre-brixton-1974-6/ as well as in Goodbye to London - Radical Art and Politics in the Seventies, edited by Astrid Proll (Hatje Cantz Verlag: 2010); the book is also the catalogue of a 2010 exhibition at the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin.
In the early 1980’s the buildings comprising the Gay Community were bought by BRIXTON HOUSING CO-OP, renovated and divided into 22 single person units. To this date, all tenants are gay/lesbian/queer and though none of the ‘first generation’ of squatters remain, many current occupants have been living in ‘The Community’ for more than a quarter Century.