In its early years, Soho Square was one of the most fashionable places to live in London.
Soho is a world-famous area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London.
Soho Square is a public park within a sqaure leased by the Soho Square Garden Committee to Westminster City council.
The original name was King Square (after Charles I
I) and a statue of the ’Merry Monarch’ has stood in the square since 1681.
The development lease to convert the surrounding fields, for 53 years and four months, was granted in 1677 to Richard Frith, elector of the Corporation of London and bricklayer.
In 1778, the naturalist Joseph Banks of 32 Soho Square was elected president of the Royal Society
and his home hosted scientists visiting from around the world.
Between 1778 and 1801 the Square was home to the infamous White House brothel at the Manor House, 21 Soho Square
A sequence of house rebuilding and renovation began in the 1730s, when many of the houses built in the 1670s and 1680s were becoming dilapidated and old fashioned, continued for over a century. Between 1880 and 1914, 11 of the 38 old houses in the square were rebuilt or considerably altered.
In 1852 the Hospital for Women, begun nine years before, moved to 30 Soho Square from Red Lion Square to accommodate 20 more beds. It moved and merged in 1989 into the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Obstetric Hospital in the Euston Road
A 200-person air raid shelter was built under the park during World War II.
Soho Square is home to several media organisations, including the British Board of Film Classification, 20th Century Fox, and Paul McCartney’s MPL Communications.
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.