Keyword

Soho

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century. The area was developed from farmland by Henry VIII in 1536, when it became a royal park. It became a parish in its own right in the late 17th century, when buildings started to be developed for the upper class, including the laying out of Soho Square in the 1680s. St Anne's Church was established during the late 17th century, and remains a significant local landmark; other churches are the Church of our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory and St Patrick's Church in Soho Square. The aristocracy had mostly moved away by the mid-19th century, when Soho was particularly badly hit by an outbreak of cholera in 1854. 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. London's gay community is centred on Old Compton Street in Soho. Soho's reputation as a major entertainment district of London stems from theatres such as the Windmill Theatre on Great Windmill Street and the Raymond Revuebar owned by entrepreneur Paul Raymond, and music clubs such as the 2i's Coffee Bar and the Marquee Club. Trident Studios was based in Soho, and the nearby Denmark Street has hosted numerous music publishing houses and instrument shops from the 20th century onwards. The independent British film industry is centred around Soho, including the British headquarters of Twentieth Century Fox and the British Board of Film Classification offices. The area has been popular for restaurants since the 19th century, including the long-standing Kettner's which was visited by numerous celebrities. Near to Soho is London's Chinatown, centred on Gerrard Street and containing several restaurants.