Theme Week London – Covent Garden and Soho

Wednesday, 7 October 2015 - 08:33 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, London, Shopping
Reading Time:  8 minutes

SOHO

Berwick Street Market - Soho © Fin Fahey

Berwick Street Market – Soho © Fin Fahey

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.

Soho is a small, multicultural area of central London; a home to industry, commerce, culture and entertainment, as well as a residential area for both rich and poor. It has clubs, including the former Chinawhite nightclub; public houses; bars; restaurants; a few sex shops scattered amongst them; and late-night coffee shops that give the streets an “open-all-night” feel at the weekends. Many Soho weekends are busy enough to warrant closing off of some of the streets to vehicles; Westminster Council pedestrianised parts of Soho in the mid-1990s, but later removed much of it, apparently after complaints of loss of trade from local businesses. Record shops cluster in the area around Berwick Street, with shops such as Blackmarket Records and Vinyl Junkies. Soho is also the home of London’s main gay village, around Old Compton Street, where there are dozens of businesses thriving on the pink pound. On 30 April 1999, the Admiral Duncan pub on Old Compton Street, which serves the gay community, was damaged by a nail bomb planted by neo-Nazi David Copeland. It left three dead (two of whom were heterosexual) and 30 injured.

Soho is home to religious and spiritual groups, notably St Anne’s Church on Dean Street (damaged by a V1 flying bomb during World War II, and re-opened in 1990), St Patrick’s Church in Soho Square (founded by Irish immigrants in the 19th century), City Gates Church with their centre in Greens Court, the Hare Krishna Temple off Soho Square and a small mosque on Berwick Street.

On Valentine’s Day 2006, a campaign was launched to drive business back into the heart of Soho. The campaign, called I Love Soho, was created by marketing manager Prannay Rughani (who also heads up the Paramount Pictures licensed multi-million pound Cheers bars in Europe, and in addition, the Soho Clubs and Bars Group), and features a web-site (www.ilovesoho.co.uk). The campaign was launched at the former Raymond’s Revue Bar in Walkers Court made famous by its strip licence and neons, with such celebrities in attendance as Charlotte Church, Amy Winehouse and Paris Hilton. I Love Soho is backed by the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, the Soho Society, Westminster Council and Visit London.

Gerrard Street is the centre of London’s Chinatown, a mix of import companies and restaurants (including Lee Ho Fook’s, mentioned in Warren Zevon’s song “Werewolves of London”). Street festivals are held throughout the year, most notably on the Chinese New Year.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Visit London – Soho, London 2012, Wikitravel Soho and Wikipedia Soho. Learn more about the use of photos.




Berwick Street Market - Soho © Fin Fahey View towards Covent Garden © Rockybiggs Admiral Duncan pub - Soho © C Ford Agent Provocateur - Soho © Adrian Pingstone Bar Italia - Soho © SomeDriftwood Colorful painted shop windows in a typical Soho backstreet © Octagon Covent Garden Market © SilkTork Covent Garden Panorama © SilkTork Covent Garden Piazza with London Transport Museum © geograph.org.uk John Snow memorial and pub - Soho © Justinc Palace Theatre - Soho © Fin Fahey Pillars of Hercules - Soho © Ewan Munro Royal Opera House - Covent Garden © SilkTork St Annes - Soho © Fin Fahey The Cambridge - Soho © Fin Fahey The French House, a historic pub in Soho © Rudolph A Furtado The Spice of Life © Fin Fahey Covent Garden © Josep Renalias
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Colorful painted shop windows in a typical Soho backstreet © Octagon
COVENT GARDEN

Covent Garden © Josep Renalias

Covent Garden © Josep Renalias

Covent Garden is a district in London, England, located on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. It is mainly associated with the former fruit and vegetable market located in the central square which is now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as “Covent Garden”. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre; north of which is mainly given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers, and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum.

Though mainly fields until the 16th century, it was briefly settled when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic. Returning to fields, part of the area was walled off for use as arable land and orchards by Westminster Abbey by 1200, and was referred to as “the garden of the Abbey and Convent”. In 1540 Henry VIII took the land belonging to the Abbey, including the area that by now was called “the Covent Garden”, and in 1552 this was granted to the Earls of Bedford. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses in order to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul’s. The design of the square was new to London, and had a significant influence on modern town planning in London, acting as the prototype for the laying-out of new estates as London grew. A small open-air fruit and vegetable market took hold on the south side of the fashionable square in approximately 1654. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and prostitutes colonized the neighborhood; the gentry began to move away, and rakes, wits and playwrights moved in. By the 18th century Covent Garden had become a well-known red-light district, attracting notable prostitutes such as Betty Careless and Jane Douglas; and Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, a guidebook to the prostitutes and whorehouses, became a bestseller. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler’s neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to both cover and help organise the market, and the area declined as a pleasure-ground as the market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904, the Jubilee Market. However, by the end of the 1960s, traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980, and is now a popular tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market; along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall.

Covent Garden falls within the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden, and is in the Parliamentary constituencies of Cities of London and Westminster and Holborn and St. Pancras.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more Covent Garden community, Welcome to Covent Garden, Covent Garden Market, Jubilee Market and Wikipedia Covent Garden. Learn more about the use of photos.




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