‘Let vagina museum sell alcohol'

Neighbours warn more places to buy booze will lead to disturbance

Friday, 18th October 2019 — By Richard Osley

Crowndale

A licensing meeting will be held at the Crowndale Centre next week

SUPPORTERS of a new museum set to demystify and educate people about women’s bodies have flooded the council with messages urging licensers to let it serve alcohol at events.

The Vagina Museum is close to opening in Stables Market in Camden Town, after a £50,000 crowdfunding campaign. It has asked the Town Hall to approve an alcohol licence which its backers say will help it survive financially.

But residents groups close to the market have raised concerns about whether the museum will add to an area they believe is already saturated with places serving alcohol.

The museum is hotly anticipated and has been praised for its ambition of taking a stigma away from talking about vaginas and vulvas.

Among the messages of support, Kit Burton-Senior said: “I am sure some passers-by will snigger at the name and maybe come inside expecting a cheap thrill, but they are hardly going to stay around for a polite glass of bubbly and a feminist lecture on vaginal hygiene when they can get a cheap pint and Sky Sports at the Spoons down the road.”

Other supporters have made similar comments, insisting the sale of alcohol will be limited and pointing out the museum will close earlier than Camden Town’s bars.

Several letter writers warned that museums across the country were struggling due to cuts to charities and arts, and were raising funds through evening events.

Trustee Niharika Jain said the museum was a “much-needed venue”, adding: “We have a vision of a world where no one is ashamed of their bodies, everyone has bodily autonomy and all of humanity works together to build a society that is free and equal.”

She added that the bar would generate less than 10 per cent of the museum’s income but said “it is important to have events as that’s how the museum sector is evolving”.

Ms Jain, one of a team of trustees, said in her letter to licensers that the venue would be “well run” and a “safe space for marginalised communities”.

All of the objectors to the licence said in their ­letters that they were not opposed to the objectives of the museum, but were instead concerned about the consequences of ­serving alcohol for people living nearby.

Patricia Thomas, from the Harmood Clarence, Hartland Residents Association, said there should be restrictions on hen parties and stag night groups using the museum for loading up on drinks.

“This area already suffers from rowdy behaviour late at night, shouting brawling, swearing, street urination,” she said.

Kate Gemmell, chair of the Tenants Residents Associations Camden Town (TRACT), said: “Events will cause unacceptable disturbance both day and night due to large numbers of people arriving and departing around the same time, causing noise from talking, car doors slamming and raised voices.”

She suggested if a licence is granted there should be no outdoor seating and events could be restricted to two a week with alcohol only sold before and after the events.

Licensers are due to meet next Thursday.

The museum is due to open on November 16 and its first exhibition is called Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them.

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