SOHO – ILLICIT, GLAMOROUS, SORDID, LOUCHE, POVERTY-STRICKEN, SQUALID, EXHILARATING.
One of Britain’s best-loved historians, Dan Cruickshank grants us an intimacy with centuries of rich and varied London history as he guides us around the Soho of the last five hundred years. We learn of its original aspirations towards respectability, how it became the city’s bohemian quarter and why it was once home to its criminal underworld.
The history of Soho is written in its surviving architecture, including its bars, clubs and theatres. Cruickshank observes how the common denominator over the centuries is its appeal as a destination for immigrants: from French Huguenots to the Italian and East European Jewish community and recent Chinese diaspora – and that this is the foundation of its spirit and success. Even as he mourns some of the changes, he pays heartfelt testament to the district’s resilience.