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Remembering Bryan Derbyshire

Bryan Derbyshire

(September 9, 1943 - May 1, 2001) U.K.

Journalist, magazine editor, and entrepreneur.

courtesy of -

Born in Longridge near Preston, West Midlands. His father, Albert, was a firefighter with the Lancashire Fire Brigade. He had an older sister, Bessie, who died in 1979. His mother died a few years later. He had a younger sister, Joyce. He ran a youth club in Woodplumpton for a while.

He did a big work for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in the early 1970s, appearing in the film David is a Homosexual. In the early 1970s he was a contributor to Gay News. He then wrote for Him Exclusive which later became Gay Times.

He and cartoonist Bill Ward set up SAM magazine which was later incorporated into Zipper magazine.

In 1980 Brian Derbyshire became involved with the Mr Hardware contests which was a forerunner to Mr Gay UK. In the early 1980s he spoke to several CHE groups, including Hampstead and Marylebone-Paddington.

He founded and edited the first free gay paper in the UK called Out. In 1982 he founded The National Gay newspaper with Mike Dow and John Addy. Within the year it was bought by Millivres Ltd, but Bryan Derbyshire stayed as its editor. In 1983 he was a founder member of the Gay Business Association.

In 1984 Millivres Ltd acquired Him Exclusive which by the

n had been re-titled Him Monthly. Later that year it was relaunched as Gay Times. In 1986 Him magazine was re-launched with Bryan Derbyshire as its editor. In 1990 he resigned as editor of Him and left Millivres Ltd. He then worked with Dafydd Jenkins on projects on the gay scene including The Block.


moved to Amsterdam and with Tony Starr set up The Stablemaster Bar and Hotel on Warmoesstraat.

Bryan Derbyshire later ran the Stablemaster apartments.

Derbyshire died in Amsterdam at the age of 58 of a heart attack during his sleep.


John Bellamy Comments: I knew Bryan back in the 80's when I was a sex worker. There were few of us going back then and having placed a new advert in Him Magazine, the first month of the advert supposedly being placed, it had the wrong phone number on and was the magazines fault and not mine. Bryan being the Editor, apologised and put it in free for the next month - and as that also had a mistake so no business was forthcoming - he called me up and made an offer ALL publishers like Gay Times need to learn from - for as this was the magazines mistake and not mine, and as he stated to me

' John - I appreciate how much money you have lost because of our fuck up, so I will place this advert free for you for as long as you want the advert - while anything else you adverise will be charged at the correct rate.'


( Advert cost - £75 - Lost income from that advert over a month - between £2 - £4,000 - so the life of an advert would take almost 5 years to pay off at the cost of the advert )

Shame the editors and staff of Gay Times never learned one decent thing of manners and decent attitude towards their advertisers and were the most awful - appalling company to do business with as an advertiser - Millivres Ltd.

APPALLING SERVICE OFFERED AND DAMNED RUDE AS WELL - ... and Bryans reaction to HIS mistake, was to take responsibility, to apologise and to offer reccompence - and this was professional, competant and polite.

I was impressed.

A while later he came round to my flat and - like a lot of gay men - we had sex and became friends.

We were members of a group I was the Chairman of back then, 'The London Gay Naturist ' and he would help by hosting the occasional event at his flat and then every other month it would be at mine and we would get 20 - 35 members attend.

He got sick of the gay world in the UK and moved to Amsterdam and ran his own bar and small guest house above and I stayed there one time and did share a laugh with him and Tony ... his partner who I also knew - and it was with a heavy heart that I heard of his death and how little the gay media of the time reponded. You see, Bryan spoke his mind and many MANY on the LGBTQ scene CANNOT STAND ANYONE TELLING THE TRUTH.

Especially when it is about the shallow vacuous queens, the agressive bull dykes - the flagrant abuses thrown by gay people at gay people and the general fuck up that he saw was the way many on the gay scene behaving towards each other which he saw as disgraceful and unhelpful in our march towards equality.

And he was right.

The gay community has never really fought in the same arena together and there has always been infighting within groups and organisations and it seems no cohesion between - and it is this infighting that constantly causes friction and seperation and where everyone wants to lead and to be heard but where most have nothing to say but to complain they are not being heard when - as stated, they have nothing to say and this interupts those of us - like bryan - from speaking up with a knowledge and a wisdom TO HELP but it is those silly shallow people who ruin it by complaining all the time and slowing all work down to a crawl so they can get some attention, when Bryan knew, it is not about who says what or who gets the praise, -


But some could not stand that and it ruined the gay community and held us back and still continues to hold us back.

Bryan spoke up.

Bryan was not a shy puppy.

Leather Master to the end, he was not afraid of anyone or anything.

He was a true hero, a pioneer, a leader for which many have no idea or that we owe him a huge appreciation for what he did as a true explorer into a brand new and naive 'gay community' which has since, because of people like Bryan and Peter Tatchell, blossomed into the LGBTQ community and where gay men led the fight...

It was largely gay men who formed the first Pride.

It was largely gay men who fought against harassment from the police

It was largely gay men who fought when HIV / AIDS raised its head and none did anything.

It was largely gay men who led the march against Clause 28

and it was gay men who encouraged others to come out and join us and lesbians have often had our backs - and the BTQ communities have benefitted and riden along and joined in and been part of a forever growing community of disenfranchised people, due to their sexuality, being ostracised by many in society and where laws needed to be changed and a different sexuality to ' the norm' becoming as acceptable - as respected - as applauded as anyone elses - be it gay, straight or anything ... as who I fuck with is no one elses business and who I choose to love and adore is also, my busines and anyone who seems to think that they have an opinion that says I am wrong, then like Bryan Derbyshire, I am also not afraid to speak up, hold my ground and defend what I feel to be a 'God Given Right' to live my life as an out gay man and if someone else does not like it, I will try and educate and explain and if that doesn't work, then tough on them... I am NOT about to change my lifestyle to help others feel better about themselves.

Thank you to Bryan Derbyshire. I remember you affectionately and with pride that we shared, we lived and we played during a time in history for gay men that will never - we hope - be seen again.

With much affection

John Bellamy


If you have stories of Bryan Derbyshire or of early gay life ( not your coming out story please... we all have one ) but something from the past gay life - please share it with us all. This is not suppose to be MY Blog, but yours.


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