Hotel Roger Dee
The gay hotel
In the early 1970s, Roger bought a seaside hotel and co-managed it with his partner, David Fuller. It was run for gay clientele - as far as I am aware, the first in the country to be so. They found that it met a need: folks had a place to stay, alone or with a partner, where they could feel at ease and mix with like-minded people. In the very early days of the British gay liberation movement, it was ground-breaking.
A weekend stay included a cabaret floorshow compered by Roger and, as the brochure stated, 'TV in all rooms.'
It was very controversial. The hotel was in a sleepy suburb on the south coast, with neighbouring expensive detached houses on private roads, the sort of place where conservative-minded ex-colonels might like to retire in peace. The local newspaper published, among several, a letter from an outraged, retired, high-ranking, ex-service neighbour who signed his name with his former rank. Roger's reply to the paper was signed 'Able-bodied Seaman Deacon R. E.'
I can hear that irreverent bell ringing again.
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