The history of the streets around Soho Square






Image: Soho Square


• Soho (Area)

1600: Until the 1600’s, the area was open land, lying on the S side of the track which became today’s Oxford Street.
1687: After the persecution of the Huguenots, in France, they settle in Soho as well as other parts of London.
Now: The area has remained very cosmopolitan.

Street markets
 Berwick Street Market: long established.
 Soho Market: started in the 1970s between Charing Cross Road and Gerrard Street.

Food shops of interest
 Brewer Street:
 Old Compton Street:

• Soho (Derivation)

1600: The name goes back to 1600 and probably derives from the fox-hunting cry of 'So-Ho' to call the hounds off the scent in the days when the area of Soho Square was open country.

• Greek Street

1670: Aproximate date. Greek Street was laid out in the 1670s and 1680s, named after a Greek church which stood on the site of St Martin's School of Art. The church was built 1677 for Greek refugees fleeing from oppression by the Ottoman Turks.
1871: Maison Bertaux, pastrycooks, was founded. It is located at No 28, on the eastern side of the street.
Now: It runs N from Shaftesbury Avenue. Buildings are numbered sequentially - Nos 1-29 on the E side, Nos 34-59 on the W side.

• Frith Street

1675: Approximate date. Laid out in the late 1670’s and early 1680’s. Named after Richard Frith, a rich builder.
1770: Approximate date. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived at No 51 Frith Street, as a boy.
1838: From 1838 until 1852 Dr John Snow lived at No 54 Frith Street. He moved from there to Sackville Street, where he died in 1858.
1925: John Logie Baird demonstrated the world's first television pictures at No 22 Frith Street.
Now: It runs N from Old Compton Street to Soho Square.

• Gerrard Street

1677: Laid out 1677-85 on land belonging to Charles, Lord Gerrard.
The developer was Nicholas Barbon, son of ‘Praise-God’ Barbon.
1985: Made into a pedestrian precinct to encourage the Chinese community to make the area more attractive.
Now: Lies just S of Shaftesbury Avenue.
It is famous for the celebrations of Chinese New Year in February.

• St Anne, Soho

1678: Parish was formed from part of the parish of St Martin in the Fields.
1680: Church was built 1680-86, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
1802: Tower was added.
Now: Tower of the original church and the ruins of the church walls, along with the churchyard, remain standing in Wardour Street.
New church premises have been built.

• Dean Street

1680: Laid out in the 1680’s, possibly named, as Old Compton Street, was after Henry Compton, Bishop of London, who was Dean of the Chapels Royal.
1851: Karl Marx lived 1851-56 in two small "evil frightful rooms" at No 28 Dean Street. He moved in with his wife and maid, both pregnant by him. Three of his young children died there.
Now: Runs S from Oxford Street to Shaftesbury Avenue.

• Wardour Street

1680: Approximate date. The country lane was built upon in the 1680’s. It was named after Edward Wardour who owned land around the northern part of the street.
The line of the street is shown on a plan of 1585 as a lane called Commonhedge Lane.
1790: Approximate date. Thomas Sheraton, the famous furniture designer, lived at No 163 Wardour Street.
Now: Runs S off Oxford Street to Shaftesbury Avenue.

• Soho Square

1681: Square laid out.
Now: Lies just S of the eastern end of Oxford Street. Soho is an area bounded by Oxford Street, Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

Charles II (Statue)
1681: Made about 1681 by the Danish sculptor Caius Cibber.
Now: Stands in Soho Square.

• ENDS •