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Borough of Burnley shown within Lancashire
Burnley is a borough in Lancashire, and also the name of the main town within the borough. At one time Burnley was one of the world's largest producers of cotton cloth, and a major centre of engineering.

LGBT history

In 1971 there was a proposal to start a gay club in Burnley, as the first of the Esquire Clubs. The proposed granting of a license for the club caused considerable controversy, with Conservative Deputy Council Leader, Alderman Frank Bailey, suggesting that the building be bought by the corporation to stop the plan. CHE then called a meeting in Burnley Library, which became CHE's first real public meeting. This event has been dramatised as The Burnley Buggers' Ball, by Stephen M Hornby for LGBT History Month 2017. In 2021 a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Burnley CHE meeting.
Poster for 1971 Public Meeting
. The Blackburn and Burnley CHE Group was founded in 1972.
Unveiling of plaque 50 years after Burnley Meeting (photo by Barry Clements in CHE Annual Report 2022)

Burnley has a large gay scene, centred on the "Guys as Dolls" showbar in St James Street.[1][2]

Burnley LGBT Heritage aims to discover and celebrate Burnley and East Lancashire's LGBT history past and present.[3]. In 2022 a Blaze Arts project called 'Stand Out' held an exhibition in Burnley Library to raise awareness of the presence and development of LGBTQ+ communities within East Lancashire's history [4].

The B U Foundation, launched 2017, is a local LGBT peer support group.


  1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossendalewadey/3701828366/
  2. http://www.gayflagburnley.org.uk/gayfriendly.html FLAG Burnley
  3. http://burnleylgbtheritage.wordpress.com/
  4. https://blazearts.co.uk/past-projects-feed/stand-out-exhibition/