Peter Dorey, Co-Founder Of The 1st LGBT Book Shop, Dies At 73

Peter Dorey (left) with fellow co-founder Ernest Hole. Image via Instagram @gaysthewordbookshop

The internet is full of tributes to Peter Dorey after the businessman and book lover passed away at the age of 73.

Dorey himself was a piece of gay history in the U.K. In 1979, Dorey co-founded Gay’s The Word in London’s Bloomsbury area. That became the first recorded opening of a LGBTQ book shop, according to BBC News. The collection of books there have not only helped to educate, entertain, and enlighten many of the store’s patrons over the decades, but the very store has been a safe space for LGBTQ people. The news of Dorey’s recent death hit the community hard.


“Gay’s The Word has been an important part of the LGBTQ+ community for many years and we get visitors from all over the world,” store manager Jim MacSweeney said. “We owe Peter Dorey a great deal of thanks for his part in setting up our bookshop.”

“The shop was set up as a safe community space where profits, if any, went back into the bookshop,” MacSweeney added. “As well as books, we had a café at the back with community notice boards and space for various groups to meet.”

Several people have posted similar tributes to Peter Dorey online.



Dorey isn’t the first co-founder of Gay’s The Word to pass away, however. Jonathan Cutbill passed away at the age of 82 in 2019, as The Guardian reported back then. When Cutbill passed, he left a large collection of LGBTQ literature, which dates back to 1760, to the University of London.

Source: BBC News, MyLondon, The Guardian,

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