This autumn marks 40 years since the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) occupied 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 took inspiration from sex workers who in 1975 occupied churches across France following a number of brutal murders, rapes and other violence which the police did nothing about while arresting and fining women instead.
To mark this anniversary and as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, the Holy Cross Church invited the ECP back to the Church to reflect on the significance of the occupation then and today with others who were there at the time – local residents, the church and the police. The event, Hookers in the House of the Lord – The Reunion, is modelled on the Radio 4 series.
Representing the church:
Bishop Peter Wheatley, vicar of Holy Cross from 1978 to 1982
Representing the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP):
Selma James, first spokeswoman for the ECP
Nina Lopez, ECP
Sara Callaway, Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike, who joined the occupation
Representing the police:
Chris Foster, who was on police duty during the occupation
Representing local residents:
Sue Heiser, who moved into Tonbridge Street with her family in 1981 and still lives there
Betty Barchard OBE, who arranged for some GOSH nurses to live in Argyle Square
The interviewer is Dame Julia Cleverdon, Churchwarden, Holy Cross Church.
Date: 21 October 7-8:30pm
Location: Holy Cross Church, St Pancras, 98 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8JU View map
Organised and presented by the English Collective of Prostitutes / Holy Cross
Hookers in the House of the Lord (40th anniversary edition)
Author: Selma James
An account of the 1982 occupation of Holy Cross Church by the English Collective of Prostitutes to protest police Illegality and racism, with photos and press coverage from the time.