Old Images of Soho, London

Old map of Soho London in 1578 including Charing Cross

Glimpse the past through old images of Soho, in London’s City of Westminster.

It is said that Soho got its name from the cries of hunters chasing hares in the area long before it was the central London shopping, business and leisure hub it is today.

Soho Goes Gay 1955

Well of course this was the time the word gay meant happy or joyful.

If you know Greek Street and its environs, you’ll enjoy seeing these familar buildings many decades ago.

But even if you don’t, it’s an amusing look back at some of the antics enjoyed on the streets of Soho back in 1955.

It’s a celebration of the international community that lived in and around the streets of Soho.

Although poor Miss Soho, having to kiss a rather over eager winner of the waiters’ race, with far more than a peck on the cheek!

Soho Goes Gay (1955) – British Pathé on YouTube

Drinking Clubs 1955

Alcohol regulations were quite tight across the UK in 1955, but drinking club regulations was a loophole which led to Soho experiencing a rapid increase in the number of small drinking clubs.

While the pubs were forced by law to close in the afternoons or promptly at 11pm, members floor show clubs could stay open, serving food, drink and putting on a show. These shows were usually scantily clad women dancing alone or in groups, and sometimes stripping.

The area had already become the centre of London’s pornography and sex trades.

Includes a short interview with club owner Paul Raymond, who sports a rather extraordinary hair style.

Clubs Galore! (1958) – British Pathé on YouTube

Soho Carnival 1957

This black and white footage of the local carnival in 1957 has some nice shots of the businesses, pubs and buildings in the backdrop.

Soho Carnival – 1957 (1957) – British Pathé on YouTube

Soho At Night 1968

This silent footage was recorded on a drive round Soho at night, in 1968.

It’s a mix of young men hanging about, and women working in the seedy establishments that littered the area.

Even in 1968, the streets were full of parked cars, which was not the story across the rest of the UK at that time.

Soho At Night (1968) – British Pathé on YouTube

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