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Julia Grant

Above: Julia Grant in 2013. Photograph used here with permission.

 
 

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Julia GrantJulia Grant interview

Play: part one | part two | part three

Julia begins by talking about gay Manchester in the 1970's, the August Bank Holiday event in 1990 (since the interview we've uncovered evidence of events in earlier years) and how she moved to Manchester and opened her initial business on Bloom Street.

She describes how various developments, Queer As Folk and the large breweries had an effect on the village and how it differed from the decades previously.

In the second part of the interview Julia talks about Mardi Gras 1999 which, despite a high attendance and large income, produced no income for the city's gay charities. She explains how that led to GayFest which had a completely different ethos.

In the third and final part, Julia talks about running GayFest, how she brought Europride to Manchester and of worsening relations with Manchester City Council.

She describes how she faced a campaign of harrassment and intimidation and turned to what is now known as the LGBT Foundation for help but it refused.

Until finally in early 2002 she sold her businesses and left, leaving the way open for the Council to regain control of the annual event in 2003 under the guise of Marketing Manchester. On the board was councillor Pat Karney who had been Chair of the no-money-for-charity Mardi Gras in 1999.

Plus Julia's thoughts on the future of Canal Street and LGBT Manchester.

 

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A decade ago, Julia Grant was one of the best-known business owners in Manchester's gay village and an outspoken voice in both the LGBT and mainstream media.

After Mardi Gras 1999 raised nothing at all for good causes, she ran the successful and free-to-enter GayFest for two years. But, some people — including local councillors and Manchester City Council — weren't happy at all.

Unexpectedly, in 2002, Julia sold Hollywood Showbar and her other businesses and left. Despite rumours and malicious gossip in the years since then, she didn't speak out in public.

Now, in this exclusive 70-minute interview Julia Grant reveals the LGBT history that you won't see at the current Manchester Pride exhibition at The Lowry gallery. Plus she recalls the events that drove her out of the city.

This was recorded on 10 July 2011 during the Sparkle weekend.

Note: eventually, when time allows, archive photos, video and other media will be added to this interview.

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Duration: 70 mins, in three parts.

External links

Facts About Manchester Pride - Facebook group.

 

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