Soho is a world-famous area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London.
Walker’s Court is one of the many passageways which in past years was known as ’Paved Alley’.
Walker’s Court links Berwick Street
with Rupert Street
in the heart of Soho.
The area was built in the early eighteenth century. Building leases were granted in the area to a number of tradesmen in 1719 and 1720, one of whom was a bricklayer - John Walker of St. Martin’s. Once simply topped with earth over potholes, the arrival of solid flag stones got it called ’Paved Alley’.
A notable feature of Walker’s Court is that it housed one of the few council licensed sex establishments in London, going under the name of Raymond’s Review Bar. This became somewhat tamer as the year’s went by even hosting the Comedy Store for a while. It closed in 2004.
On either side of Walker’s Court there are a variety of shops including a notable book shop on the corner of Brewer Street
Berwick Market is in full swing Monday to Saturday until 5pm and is at its busiest around lunchtime.
When the stall holders have gone home and the gutters are cleared of bruised apples and cabbage leaves, the area is transformed into one of Soho’s evening delights - restaurants of many nationalities and entertainment to suit a variety of requirements.
Walker’s Court stretching away from the photographer.
The Underground Map
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.