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03 December 2008

What happened to ... Lady Austin (1908 - ?).

Austin S. was a barman in Baron’s Court, London.

In 1932 he organized a “Hotel Staff Dance” in a private ballroom at 27 Holland Park, that was attended mainly by domestic servants, and hotel staff, mainly men, but many dressed as women.

The event was raided by the police; 33 men and 1 woman were arrested. The subsequent trial became the most widely reported 'pansy case’ of the 1930s.

Lady Austin had been running such balls for some time. She said to the police “There is nothing wrong in that”.
  • Matt Houlbrook. “'Lady Austin's Camp Boys': Constituting the Queer Subject in 1930s London. Gender & History. 14,1 pp31-62, 2002.
  • Matt Houlbrook. Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis. 1918-1957. The University of Chicago Press 2005: 244-5.

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