London Borough of Sutton

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Dust jacket of book by Forbes Cheston who lived as a young gay man in Sutton
The London Borough of Sutton is an outer London Borough in south London. It was formed in 1965 by the merger of three previous local authorities, Sutton and Cheam, Beddington and Wallington, and Carshalton, all of which had previously been part of Surrey.

LGBT history

Quentin Crisp was born in Sutton on 25 December 1908 [1].

Horace Charles Forbes Cheston (1898-1975) author of 'Of Those Alone' (1958) which charts gay London during the First World War and which was published under his pseudonym Robert Hutton, lived in Sutton as a young man [2].

Noel Coward lived in Lenham Road as a boy and appeared on stage at the since demolished Public Hall aged 8.

Brian Paddick lived in Sutton as a youth and young man and attended the local Grammar School [3]. Clifford Williams lived in Sutton as a youth and young man and wrote about this in his book 'Courage to Be' (2021 Book Guild Ltd.). In 2023 he gave a talk in Sutton Central Library about growing up gay in the borough and aspects of the gay history of the borough.

In 1978 a Conservative Councillor who had been convicted of gross indecency with another man in a public place, admitted he was homosexual and stated he saw no reason not to continue to serve as a Borough Councillor [4].

In 1979 a listing for a gay disco at Scamps 299a High St Sutton appeared in Gay News [5].

There was a Lesbian group that met at the Women's Centre in Palmerston Road [6]
Leaflet for Lesbian Group (undated) (Bishopsgate Institute Archives) Photo by Dr Clifford Williams
. A letter in the Hall Carpenter Archives states the Lesbian Support Group was set up early 1987 [7].

There was briefly a Sutton LGBT Forum ("LGBT in Sutton"): items on its website are dated between 2007 and 2009.[8] It was launched on "Wednesday 26 November" (presumably 2008) at the Robin Hood, West Street, with speakers from Sutton Police, Sutton Council, Galop and the IAG.[9][10]

Let me Out (LMO) is/was an LGBT youth group for Sutton and Merton.[11]

SMALL (Sutton Mature And Loving Life) was a group for older LGBT people in Sutton.[12]

A new Sutton LGBT Forum was set up in 2013 by Tyrone Ashby with support from Age UK Sutton.[13]

Elliot Colburn is the member of parliament for Carshalton and Wallington and also a borough councillor.


  1. Address: Wolverton, Egmont Road, Sutton. In the 1908 Sutton Directory Mrs F Pratt is at the address. Crisp was born as Dennis Pratt. He is listed in the 1911 Census at that address
  2. Accessed 21 July 2023
  3. Brian Paddick Line of Fire (2018) (Simon and Schuster)
  4. Wallington South Ward Councillor. Gay News November 30 1978 issue 156 page 8. Sutton and Cheam Herald 25 January 1979 'Bid to oust gay Councillor'
  5. Issue 173 August 1979 Wednesday 9-2am
  6. Leaflet undated in the Bishopsgate Institute
  7. Letter from Angie Brown Sutton Women's Centre undated but 1987 in CHE papers
  13. (website appears defunct 2023) (website in Jan 2023 but appears out of date)