Carnaby Street, W1F

Road in/near Soho, existing between 1686 and now

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Road · Soho · W1F ·

Carnaby Street became the heart of Swinging London.

Carnaby Street was probably laid out in 1686, deriving its name from Karnaby House, which was built in 1683 to its east. A market, Carnaby Market, opened in the 1820s.

The first Carnaby Street boutique, His Clothes, was opened by John Stephen in 1957 and was followed by I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, Gear and others.

By the 1960s, Carnaby Street was popular with followers of the mod and hippie styles. Many fashion designers such as Mary Quant moved to the street. Various underground music bars such as the Roaring Twenties opened in the nearby streets. Bands such as the Rolling Stones, Small Faces and The Who appeared at the Marquee Club around the corner in Wardour Street.

On 15 April 1966, Carnaby Street featured on the cover of Time magazine. The article within extolled the street’s role in Swinging London.

Carnaby Street was satirised by The Kinks in their 1966 hit ’Dedicated Follower of Fashion’: "Everywhere the Carnabetian Army marches on, each one a dedicated follower of fashion".

In 1973, the street was pedestrianised.
Westminster City Council erected two plaques - 1 Carnaby Street dedicated to fashion entrepreneur John Stephen, who began the Mod fashion revolution and 52-55 Carnaby Street dedicated to pop group The Small Faces and their manager Don Arden.

Main source: Carnaby Street - Wikipedia
Further citations and sources




Soho is a world-famous area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London.

The name "Soho" first appears in the 17th century. Most authorities believe that the name derives from a former hunting cry. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, used "soho" as a rallying call for his men at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685, half a century after the name was first used for this area of London. The Soho name has been imitated by other entertainment and restaurant districts such as Soho, Hong Kong; Soho, Málaga; SOHO, Beijing; SoHo (South of Horton), London, Ontario, Canada; and Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires. SoHo, Manhattan, gets its name from its location SOuth of HOuston Street, but is also a reference to London’s Soho.

Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation as a base for the sex industry in addition to its night life and its location for the headquarters of leading film companies. Since the 1980s, the area has undergone considerable gentrification. It is now 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. Record shops cluster in the area around Berwick Street, with shops such as Phonica, Sister Ray and Reckless Records.
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