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LondonFurs is a local furry group for the Greater London region of the United Kingdom. As of 2019, there had been over 300 LondonFurs meets.
Origin and history
Originally brought together by Ia'Kat and Vexen Crabtree of Hertfordshire University, furs in the London area first started having organised meets during March and April of 1998, becoming established as a regular tri-weekly event in 1999. The tri-weekly arrangement was designed to avoid calendar conflicts with monthly events. The number of attendees ranged from 5 to 20 during the first year. During this period, LondonFurs did not have an established venue as they do today. Instead, most attendees met up at London King's Cross Railway Station, below the departures board usually around 11am, and set off from there.
The group has grown from a handful of local furs to an organised community with hundreds of regular attendees all over London and the UK.
- Founded in 1998, in the early days of the group, furs would congregate at Soho Square before going to the pubs "The Ship" or "The Intrepid Fox".
- Late 1999 - early October 2000 - The meets were held in "The Devonshire Arms", London's premier Goth pub in Camden Town. As the group grew to larger numbers, this small establishment was no longer suitable and so moved on.
- Late October 2000 - October 2003 - the "Jorene Celeste" pub in Kentish Town was home for LondonFurs. However, steady decline in relations following a change of management resulted in the group moving on. During this period Makali helped organized the group with a stable web presence and custom website.
- October 2003 - July 8 2006 - The meets were held at "Ye Olde London Pub" (formerly "The Bell, Book and Candle" until it was refurbished in mid 2005), close to St. Paul's Cathedral. Increasing attendance and another management change left the LondonFurs distinctly unwelcome, and moved on.
- July 29, 2006 - December 15, 2007 - The LondonFur Meets were held at the "Theodore Bullfrog" pub in Charing Cross. The venue was quickly outgrown as the group grew ever larger.
- December 15, 2007 - March 2010 - The meets were relocated to the "City Golf Bar" in the Blackfriars area of London, and remained here for some time, before relocating again to the Saint Bar in Paternoster Square.
- March 2010 - March 2019 - The increasing regular attendance meant the meets outgrew the available space again, and were relocated down the road to the larger "Jamie's Bar" (now "Fleet Place"), next to the northern entrance to City Thameslink station adjacent to Holborn Viaduct.
- March 2019 - December 2019 - Changing management at Fleet Place/Jamie's caused a relocation of the meet venue to Revolution London America Square in Tower Hill. Most meets took place here, although there were visits to Summer/Winter party venue the Tank & Paddle and Fleet Place in October and November respectively.
- Since January 2020 - Meets have been held at the Tank & Paddle in Minister Court, Mincing Lane, located in a covered shopping arcade below the north tower of the London Underwriting Centre,[Note 1] close to Aldgate, Monument and Tower Hill underground stations and Fenchurch Street railway station.
LondonFurs meets are held at the Tank & Paddle Minister Court in Mincing Lane every third Saturday if possible, although the schedule is sometimes moved around to account for other events such as the Summer and Winter Parties. The meets are open to all furries and their guests from 12pm (noon) until 7pm. All visitors to the tri-weekly meets must be 16 years or over; this limit is increased to 18 years for special events such as the parties. Furry dress such as ears and tails is welcome and encouraged, as well as name badges for helping people in recognising and remembering attendees (and their fursonas).
Fursuiting is commonplace during the LondonFurs meets and a space is usually reserved in the venue for fursuiters to change. At 3pm there is (weather permitting) an organised fursuit walk. This is a short trip around the local area of Central London with any fursuiters who wish to attend, as well as handlers, photographers, and meet attendees.
The walk historically took about two hours, including a rest stop at the halfway point for the fursuiters to take a rest and rehydrate, taking participants over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern, then along the South Bank to a rest area, before returning to the meet venue via Blackfriars Bridge. This allowed a great deal of interaction with the public, allowing for many and varied opportunities for photographs with tourists and children. Alternatively a shorter trip might be made to Postman's Park, and then back directly or along a portion of Cheapside.
After the move to Revolution London America Square, attempts were made to continue the tradition, with several jaunts over Tower Bridge and back over London Bridge. However, outings were temporarily restricted to a "short walk" to the Trinity Square Gardens on Tower Hill, which continues to be the case as of February 2020.
Aside from the fursuit walk, the meet has no rigid structure, and furs are free to socialise as they desire. Furry art, card games, and board games are popular activities during the meet. Some bring puppets or wear costumes, either instead of fursuits or in addition to them.
LondonFur meets are open to any furs - or, occasionally, non-furs - who wish to attend, provided they are old enough. Newcomers are advised to introduce themselves to the community via Facebook or Telegram groups (which had largely superseded the UKFur forum and IRC channel as of 2019). The venue and walk are wheelchair-accessible, but steep in places; those who require help with propulsion should arrange assistance in advance.
Attendance is approximately 150 per meet, although this can vary depending on other events occurring on the same weekend, such as major furry or comic conventions. At special LondonFur events such as the Summer or Winter Party, this number can increase dramatically, often topping 250 to 400.
Although the majority of the meet's attendees are from London, participants have been known to come from all over the globe. LondonFurs receives many regular attendees from Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.
LondonFurs have had major party events for several years, with live DJs, dancing and food, such as the LondonFurs 10th Anniversary Party. In July 2010 these became a more official event with additional branding, themes and activities - as of 2018 these consist of:
- the LondonFurs Winter Party (held at a large bar with restaurant and music facilities from noon to 11PM), and
- the LondonFurs Summer Weekender (comprising the LondonFurs Summer Boat Party with music and dancing on Friday night, and the LondonFurs Summer Party the day after - similar to the Winter event, albeit with less of a focus on music and dancing).
Admission to everything but the boat party is free, with expenses being funded by meeting a minimum spend on food and drink at the venue, as well as collections at the regular meets and online donations. However, unlike regular meets, the parties are restricted to over-18s only. This is due to licensing restrictions with the venues. There are, however, alternative (and unofficial) meets organised by the community for the younger members of the group.
- 2010 - 2010's summer party was themed Aloha, a "delightful Hawaiian soirée", held at The Wall Bar, Old Broad Street on July 17th, with an attendance of approximately 300 furs from all over the UK. The success of this event meant a Christmas party was organised at the same location on December 11th 2010.
- 2011 - On July 30, 2011, a "Cowboys and Indians" themed summer party was held at the Agenda Bar, Minster Court . According to a post by Lupus Londonwolf on the UKFur forums, the party hit a maximum of 404 attendees at one point, nearly £8000 was spent over the day, and not a single glass was broken.
- The 2011 Christmas Party was held on December 3, 2011 at "The Sterling", inside 30 St Mary Axe, London, more commonly known as the "Gherkin", with a theme of "Dress to Impress". Several raffle prizes were donated by Elliott's Live Events, with representatives from the organisation turning up to present the prizes.  The first prize was a free trip for two to Elliott's Spring Gathering 2012.
- 2012 - In April 2012, it was announced on UKFur that this years summer party would be returning to the Agenda bar (used for the 2011 summer party).
- The 2012 winter party was held on December 1, 2012 at the Amber Bar in Ropemaker Street, London, with a theme of "Back in Time" (1980's themed).
- 2013 - On February 9, 2013, it was announced on UKFur that this year would see a "Summer Weekender", with the party spread over two days. The theme was "Día de Los Muertos" ("Day of the Dead"). On Friday, July 19th, there was a party aboard the M.V. Erasmus - previously used for the RBW boat parties - from 19:00 to 23:00, and on Saturday July 20th, the party returned to the Agenda bar (used for the past two years).
- The 2013 Winter Party was held at the Amber Bar on December 14, 2013. The theme was "Hit the Slopes".
- The theme was "Bad Taste".
- 2017 Summer and Winter parties took place.
- 2018 The Summer Weekender: Boat Party took place July 20. The Winter Party also took place.
- 2019 The Summer Weekender took place July 19-20, and the Winter Party on December 7 - both at the Tank & Paddle in Mincing Lane.
- 2020 LondonFurs introduced a dedicated area for freely-provided board games and an Artist Alley.
The LondonFurs were featured in a documentary shown late night on the UK's Channel 4, under the title "Human Furry Animals" in 2000 as part of their strand of programming called "The Other Side", designed to give new directors a "break" into TV. It was one of the first early television documentaries to show furries in a positive light.
Members of the LondonFur community were also featured in a segment on the London only ITV show Nightlife, in a piece titled "The Furverts" aired in 2001. Prior to filming, the production crew promised that the segment would not focus purely on the sexual nature (like other documentaries had done) and would give a fair and balanced view. However when the programme was aired it had been edited down to anything but; giving a negative and embarrassing portrayal of furry. Most, if not all the furries that feature, regret taking part.
In 2010, the London Furs featured in a segment called "Furry:Gente de Pelúcia" from the Brazilian programe Fantástico after a chance encounter with a Brazilian film crew during one of the meets , which can be downloaded from SlyCat's download page.
Operating committee timeline
- In August 2008, with the increasing number of regular attendees, an organising committee was formed. As of December 2010, it consisted of Agrajag, Bariki, Branded Bunni, Lupus Londonwolf, Miles Tigerfox and Miyabi.
- In September 2011, it was announced that Agrajag and Miles were stepping down from the committee, with Ani Boxer and Camrath taking their place.
- In November 2011, it was announced that a small sub-committee had been created, composed of Kittiah and TiWolf to aid the committee in their activities, and to act as deputies in the event of committee member absence.
- On November 18, 2011, Branded Bunni announced on Twitter that he had resigned from the committee as he felt it was now the right time for him to step down.
- On January 30, 2013, Lupus stepped down from his role as Chairman of the committee for personal reasons. Bariki assumed the post of Chairman, and TiWolf was promoted from the sub-committee.
LondonFurs Management Ltd
At the beginning of March 2012, an announcement was made by the committee that, due to issues surrounding public liability, no further "official" walks (walks organised and directed by members of the LF committee) would take place until and unless suitable insurance could be obtained. This would cover any claims made by participants or members of the public in the event of damage or accident. Whilst the LondonFur community raised the estimated cost of annual coverage within 48 hours, it still took a month to arrange the insurance, and was only made possible through the creation of a private company.
On April 5th, 2012, Bariki announced that the committee had formed a non-profit private company, titled LondonFurs Management Ltd. This company exists solely to administer the meets/seasonal parties, and to provide insurance for any arranged activities, including the fursuit walk. 
- ↑ The London Underwriting Centre was also the fictional location of Cruella de Vil's fashion house in the 1996 live-action film of 101 Dalmatians, as can be seen here.
- ↑ https://londonfurs.org.uk/meet/londonfurs-305th-meet/
- ↑ Meet Changes & Updates - Ani Boxer (posted by Lupisfer), LondonFurs website (September 29, 2019)
- ↑ LondonFurs 317th Meet (held January 11, 2020)
- ↑ Telegram - LondonFurs (retrieved February 9, 2020)
- ↑ http://vimeo.com/5793139
- ↑ http://www.londonfurs.org.uk/aloha
- ↑ http://www.londonfurs.org.uk/santa-claws
- ↑ http://londonfurs.org.uk/yeehaw
- ↑ Summer Party 2011 Meet Report - Lupus Londonwolf on UKFur, dated August 2, 2011
- ↑ Londonfurs Christmas Party - Lupus Londonwolf on UKFur, dated September 30, 2011
- ↑ Londonfurs Winter Party, Saturday 3Rd December 2011 - Bariki on UKFur, dated November 13, 2011
- ↑ LondonFurs Summer Party Pre-Announcement Thread - Bariki on UKFur, dated April 24, 2012
- ↑ Winter Party 2012: Back In Time - Lupus Londonwolf on UKFur, dated October 15, 2012
- ↑ LondonFurs Summer Weekender - Miyabi on UKFur, dated February 9, 2013
- ↑ Londonfurs Winter Party 2013 - Miyabi on UKFur, dated October 2, 2013
- ↑ LondonFurs Summer Weekender 2016 on the LondonFurs website. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
- ↑ http://londonfurs.org.uk/meet/summer-weekender-boat-party-2018/ Retrieved April 22, 2018.
- ↑ LondonFurs Summer Boat Party 2019 and LondonFurs Summer Party 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019
- ↑ Meet Changes & Updates - Ani Boxer (posted by Lupisfer), LondonFurs website (September 29, 2019)
- ↑ Boardgames & Artists Alley announcement - LondonFurs, Facebook (January 8, 2020)
- ↑ http://forum.ukfur.org/index.php?showtopic=21218&hl=brazilian
- ↑ LF Committee - Changes Are Afoot - Lupus Londonwolf on UKFur, dated September 9, 2011
- ↑ LF: Your Committee - Miyabi on UKFur, dated November 9, 2011
- ↑ LF Committee and Company Changes - Bariki on LondonFur Tumblr, dated January 30, 2013
- ↑ Official Fursuit Walks & Public Liability - Miyabi on UKFur, dated March 7, 2012
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 Insurance Purchased - Official Fursuit Walk To Resume - Bariki on UKFur, dated April 5, 2012
- LondonFurs official website
- LondonFurs discussion forum (2005 archive)
- LondonFurs on Twitter
- LondonFurs on Facebook
- #londonfurs IRC channel on FurNet
- Londonfurs on Flickr
- LondonFurs events (used 1999-2015) and photo gallery (to 2011) on Furmeets.co.uk
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