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Occupation of Holy Cross Church, King's Cross 1982

 

In 1982, the ECP took sanctuary in the Church of the Holy Cross in the red-light area of King’s Cross, London for 12 days to protest “police illegality and racism” against sex workers. The occupation followed in the footsteps of sex workers in France who in 1975 occupied churches across the country to protest police arresting and fining them while doing nothing to stop rape and other violence including a number of brutal murders.

  

The occupation put sex workers on the political agenda as never before and drew widespread support including from Andaiye (Guyana’s Working People’s Alliance), Labour MP Tony Benn, Black and Immigrant women’s organisations, Greenham Common women’s peace camp, Sappho, the lesbian women organisation and gay men who brought food and blankets. 

 

OCCUPATION FOOTAGE

FEATURES

KING’S CROSS STORY PALACE PROJECT

In May 2018, Sarah Walker from the ECP sat down with Polly Rodgers to record her memories of the ECP occupation of the Holy Cross Church as part of the project King’s Cross Story Palace. In the recordings below, Sarah talked about the political climate that led up to the occupation, the occupation itself, and what life was like for sex workers working in King’s Cross in the ‘80s. 

ARTICLE

Frankie Miren interviews women who were at the centre of the occupation, and explores the legacy of their action today.

AUDIO

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat report covering the occupation. Interviews with sex workers and London Councillor Brynley Heaven.

PUBLICATIONS

Hookers in the House of the Lord

Hookers in the House of the Lord

The unique account of the 1982 occupation by those who lived it and created it.  Available to order online in the New Year! You can also read the account in the book Sex, Race and Class – The Perspective of Winning by our first spokeswoman Selma James. Available here.