Greek Street, W1D

Road in/near Soho, existing between 1677 and now

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Road · Soho · W1D ·

Greek Street leads south from Soho Square to Shaftesbury Avenue.

It is thought to take its name from a Greek church that was built in 1677 in adjacent Crown Street, now part of the west side of Charing Cross Road. The church is depicted in William Hogarth’s ’Noon’ from Four Times of the Day.

Although the street has several houses from the 18th century and earlier, it is mainly 19th-century in appearance. The street crosses Manette Street, Bateman Street, Old Compton Street and Romilly Street.

1 Greek Street is the House of St Barnabas, built in 1746. It became the offices of the Westminster Commissioner for Works for Sewers in 1811. This is where Chief Engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette started to work on the construction of the London sewerage system. By 1862 the house had been taken over by The House of Charity, which was established in 1846 to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people. Charles Dickens used the house and gardens as a model for the London lodgings of Dr Manette and Lucy in A Tale of Two Cities.

There has been a public house known as Pillars of Hercules at no. 7 since 1733. The current pub building sports some artwork by Invader and was long favoured by many figures in the London literary scene, including Martin Amis, Ian Hamilton, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan. Indeed, Clive James named his second book of literary criticism (At the Pillars of Hercules) after it.

In the mid-eighteenth century, no. 9 was the location of the Turk’s Head Tavern, where a well-known lodge of Freemasons met. The Ancient Grand Lodge of England was organized there on 17 July 1751.

The Coach and Horses pub (also known as Norman’s), famous for the rudeness of its former landlord Norman Balon, is at no. 29, at the corner with Romilly Street. The fortnightly editorial lunch of Private Eye is held in the Coach and Horses. There has been a public house of that name on the site since the 1720s.

The street is the setting for the 1930 film Greek Street, directed by Sinclair Hill and starring Sari Maritza and William Freshman.

In the 1971 film Villain, the crime lord Vic Dakin (Richard Burton) recommends Greek Street as a venue of prostitution. "Try the Manhattan Club in Greek Street... lot of ’sunburnt’ girls there... for twenty quid they’ll do anything... enjoy yourself!"

Greek Street is now known for its selection of restaurants and cafes.

Main source

Citations and sources

Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations
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The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.



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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Central London, north west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Cruchley's New Plan of London (1848) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
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Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
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John Rocque Map of London (1762) FREE DOWNLOAD
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
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Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured.
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Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1836) FREE DOWNLOAD
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London Underground map from 1921.
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London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
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Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
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Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

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