In Other Words

Prudence de Villiers and her partner Gay Jones outside In Other Words Bookshop Plymouth

The ‘In Other Words’ Bookshop was opened on Mutley Plain in 1982 by Prudence de Villiers and her partner Gay Jones.
The shop broke new ground in Plymouth as it became a focal point for Plymouth’s few but determined radical activists. The shop sold a wide range of literature that was generally unavailable in most bookshops at the time including anti-war, environmental and gay and lesbian titles. The bookshop sadly closed in 2007 after 25 years.

“I think we became a real haven for many and varied minorities and I do think Plymouth is the poorer for the fact that it’s closed.”

In 1994 Prudence helped start the Plymouth Lesbian Line at Virginia House, for which she volunteered for several years.
She was also involved in the formation of Plymouth Pride Forum in 1997 and instrumental in organising Plymouth’s first “Pink Saturday” in 2002 as well as other Plymouth Pride events. In 2008 Prudence’s contribution to the city was recognised when the Pink Pride of Plymouth Award was presented to her by Lord Mayor, Councillor Brian Vincent.

“It is really, really nice, though I really don’t feel I’ve done
more than other people.” (Prudence de Villiers)

“In the early days, we’d find ourselves talking to mostly younger people who were worried about their sexuality and wanted reassurance and wanted to be able to discuss it. And so, yes, there was a certain amount of tea and sympathy and we would sort of sit down and chat. I know that was helpful to a number of people.”

“Plymouth was not exactly a ‘gay friendly’ city. So I think to have somewhere where they could come and have a safe haven and know that they’re accepted and they could talk about things and they could buy books in which gay people were normal, it was hugely important.”

“My own views are that it’s a huge loss since the shop has gone and it was a wonderful ‘hub’ really, with a lot of fun and laughter and access to things and information and people.”

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