Rupert Court, W1D

Road in/near Soho, existing between 1676 and now

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Road · Soho · W1D ·

Rupert Court was named for Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the First Lord of the Admiralty when the court was built in 1676.

Towards the southern end of Rupert Street this narrow, partly covered Court reaches out to connect with Wardour Street, at one time noted for its association with a thriving British film industry. The Court was built, along with its namesake street, in 1677 and named as a tribute to the cavalier efforts of Prince Rupert in the Civil War. However, it seems that had the naming of streets been left to Samuel Pepys we would not have had Rupert Street, Court, Road, or anything else. For on 29 September 1667 the old scribbler inscribed in his diary "This day or yesterday, I hear, Prince Rupert is come to Court; but welcome to nobody."

Nell Gwyn was a one-time nearby resident. In 1666 she took up residence in a house just to the north of the Court, in Wardour Street. Charles II signed the lease.

Rupert Court is a pleasant welcoming place; it occasionally bustles with the to and fro of people passing between the streets, some pausing for a brief moment to glance in the little shop windows, others in too much of a hurry to notice. By night it seems to rest, which is a strange thing when we consider that this is only a stones throw from the late hour resorts of Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Shaftesbury Avenue. Mingling with the variety of foliage-draped shops in the Court is the Blue Posts public house, so named from an old time practice of referring to taverns by the colour in which the door posts were painted, rather than a hanging sign board. There used to be a licensed establishment of a different kind at the opposite end of the Court, but that ceased when the pawnbroker was driven into virtual extinction some years ago.

Citation information: The alleyways and courtyards of London: R – The Undergroun
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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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