Carnaby Street in London

Monday, 1 April 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, London, Shopping
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© SisterLondon/cc-by-sa-4.0

© SisterLondon/cc-by-sa-4.0

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho in the City of Westminster, Central London. Close to Oxford Street and Regent Street, it is home to fashion and lifestyle retailers, including a large number of independent fashion boutiques. Streets crossing, or meeting with, Carnaby Street are, from south to north, Beak Street, Broadwick Street, Kingly Court, Ganton Street, Marlborough Court, Lowndes Court, Fouberts Place, Little Marlborough Street and Great Marlborough Street. The nearest London Underground station is Oxford Circus (on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines).

In 1934, Amy Ashwood Garvey and Sam Manning opened the Florence Mills Social Club, a jazz club that became a gathering place for supporters of Pan-Africanism, at number 50.

© Philafrenzy/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Philafrenzy/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Philafrenzy/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Dcs57/cc-by-sa-4.0 © SisterLondon/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Spudgun67/cc-by-sa-4.0
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© Philafrenzy/cc-by-sa-4.0
The first boutique, His Clothes, was opened by John Stephen in 1957 after his shop in Beak Street burned down and was followed by I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, Gear, Lady Jane, Mates, Ravel, and others. Round the corner in Kingly Street, Tommy Roberts opened his gift shop Kleptomania. He moved to Carnaby Street in 1967 and went on to make fame in the King’s Road, Chelsea, with his Mr Freedom shop. By the 1960s, Carnaby Street was popular with followers of the mod and hippie styles. Many independent fashion boutiques such as Ariella, and designers such as Mary Quant, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, Lord John, Merc, Take Six, and Irvine Sellars had premises in the street and various underground music bars such as the Roaring Twenties opened in the surrounding streets. Bands such as the Small Faces, The Who, and The Rolling Stones appeared in the area to work (at the legendary Marquee Club round the corner in Wardour Street), shop, and socialise, it became one of the coolest destinations associated with 1960’s Swinging London. The Carnaby Street contingent of Swinging London stormed into North American and international awareness with the 15 April 1966 publication of Time magazine‘s cover and article that extolled this street’s role:

Perhaps nothing illustrates the new swinging London better than narrow, three-block-long Carnaby Street, which is crammed with a cluster of the ‘gear’ boutiques where the girls and boys buy each other clothing…

In October 1973, the Greater London Council pedestrianised the street. Vehicular access is restricted between 11 am and 8 pm. A comparison of before and after number of pedestrians entering the area indicated a 30% increase in pedestrian flows as a result of the pedestrianisation. A campaign commenced early in 2010 to call for pedestrianisation in the adjacent area of Soho. Westminster City Council erected two green plaques, one at 1 Carnaby Street dedicated to fashion entrepreneur John Stephen, who began the Mod fashion revolution and another at 52/55 Carnaby Street is dedicated to the Mod pop group The Small Faces and their manager Don Arden.

To celebrate the memory of Freddie Mercury after the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Carnaby Street arch is getting a rework with Queen’s logo being put up until early 2019. Despite John Stephen closing his final business in 1975 (he died in 2004 aged 70) and the gradual movement to novelty shops with appeal to the ever increasing tourist trade, the boutique trade founded in Carnaby street in 1957 by John Stephen is still visible through the many shops of that ilk that still exist in the street today . Although featured in many books about London, the only book published which is exclusively about ‘Carnaby Street’ and traces the history from the 1600s to 1970 is simply entitled ‘Carnaby Street’ and was written by Tom Salter in 1970. A few mainstream stores including ‘Boots The Chemists’ are currently in the street.

Read more on Carnaby Street, VisitLondon.com – Carnaby Street, VisitBritain.com – Carnaby Street and Wikipedia Carnaby Street (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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