Leicester Square and Soho
The name is to the British cinema what Shaftesbury Avenue is to the theatre, and here in the 1920’s and 1930’s the giants of cinema established their headquarters.
Moving west again, Noel Street leads through to Great Marlborough Street, at the far end of which, on Regent Street, are the contrasted splendours of the medieval elevation of Liberty’s (as compared with its Renaissance Baroque facade on Regent Street) with its timbering made out of real ships’ timbers, no expense spared, and all, in proportions, staggeringly wrong. But before that, the first crossing ofNoel Street is at Berwick Street, with a crowded street market at its end that is prolonged south through Rupert
Street to Shaftesbury Avenue, good for fruit and vegetable. As busv as Old Compton Street, or busier, but here the tone aeena always to me to have changed this is predominantly Cockney and Cockney Jewish as distinct from the mainly Latin cosmopoly of Old Compton Street It is worth lingering if only for the smell of vegetable greenery and the hoarse and acrid banter of the stall keepevs, but also, if it be only to linger a little sadly, for the visible forerunner of the shape of things to come in Soho. For in Berwick Street the first stages of a proposed redevelopment of Soho have gone up, in a high block of municipal flats flanking the market. But the pullulating vitality of Soho may well depend on the closeness with which its workers and its 4,ooo odd residents are forced to live; if its warren quality, if all its narrownesses, alley ness, its animation in decay, are taken from it, what will be left?
At the bottom of Berwick Street you can slip through such a characteristic Soho footpathpast a do it yourself shop for lampshades, past the glamorous Jewish eating house, Isow’sinto Brewer Street, but I recommend instead a detour through west Soho via Broadwick Street and Beak Street.
Soho Map London England Photo Gallery
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