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April 28, 2015

27 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Soho, London Over the Years

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of London’s West End. 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 as a location for the headquarters of leading film companies.

Since the 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.

Below is a collection of 27 fascinating vintage photography that catpure everyday life in Soho from between the 1910s and 1960s:

Circa 1910: The smallest shop in London at 4 Bateman Street, Soho. The shop, occupied by a cobbler, is six feet long, five feet high and two feet deep. The rent is three pounds a week.(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

10 April 1913: English lessons for Italian children at a school in Soho. Signor de Villa instructs boys in reading and spelling.(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

14 June 1913: Crowds watch the cortege of suffragette Emily Davison, who was killed by the King's horse at the Derby, passing Eros at Piccadilly Circus.(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

November 1933: The bustling market on Berwick Street in the heart of London's Soho.(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

24 November 1933: Men raise their glasses in a public house in London's Soho.(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1937: A small crowd gathers to watch a man trying to extract himself from chains on a street in Soho.(General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

22 May 1940: A shopkeeper removes the word 'Italian' from the sign above his restaurant in Soho, after anti-Italian riots throughout Britain.(Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

15 August 1945: Crowds assemble in Piccadilly Circus to celebrate the news of Japan's surrender and the end of the Second World War.(Keystone/Getty Images)

1 January 1955: Revellers cram into London's Piccadilly Circus to count in the New Year.(Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images)

1955: Waiters carrying half bottles of champagne set off on the annual waiters' race from Soho Square to Greek Street.(Slim Aarons/Getty Images)

10 July 1955: The prize-winning float parades through the streets upon the opening of the Soho Fair.(Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

August 1955: A rainy night in Soho(BIPS/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

25 November 1955: US troops and their girlfriends say goodbye in Piccadilly Circus after leaving the Club Americana, a Saturday night jazz club open from midnight until 7am(Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

12 June 1956: People look at notices outside a newsagent's shop on Frith Street, where a newspaper board reads: 'They saved London'(John Firth/BIPs/Getty Images)

8 July 1956: A man in drag heads a carnival procession down Old Compton Street during the Soho Fair.(Ron Gerelli/Express/Getty Images)

21 July 1956: Andria Loran, a model who was democratically elected Queen of Soho 1956, stands in the doorway of the Mambo Club, keenly noticed by an onlooker.(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

5 September 1956: Youths hang out on the backstreets of Soho.(Werner Rings/BIPs/Getty Images)

February 1958: Singer and guitarist Bill Kent entertains some teenage fans in The Two I's Coffee Bar on Old Compton Street in Soho.(John Pratt/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

18 June 1960: Policemen try to control fans of the rock and roll singer, Tommy Steele, outside Saint Patrick's Church on Soho Square, where he is to be married to Ann Donoghue.(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

1 November 1960: The reverend Vernon Mitchell visits numerous strip clubs in Soho to determine what should be censored.(Peter Dunne/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1963: Dressed in minuscule fur bikinis, Kean Fluffles, Angela Parker and Audrey Crane perform in London's Casino de Paris in Soho. (John Pratt/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

30 April 1965: Actress Barbara Windsor and her husband Ronnie Knight sit with Reggie Kray and his wife Frances Shea at the El Morocco nightclub in Soho, owned by the Kray Twins. (Larry Ellis/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

16 February 1966: A man sweeps his cloak around him after getting out of a sports car on Carnaby Street. (John Waterman/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

11 May 1966: Men watch as a model takes part in a photo shoot in the window of a new Henry Moss boutique on London's fashionable Carnaby Street. (John Downing/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

13 May 1966: A sign offering a brand of briar pipes for sale at a reduced rate is seen at Coleman Cohen tobacco shop in Old Compton Street. (Roberts/BIPs/Getty Images)

September 1966: Two men look at each other while standing on a street corner in Soho. (BIPS/Getty Images)

27 November 1966: John Lennon, dressed as a Public Lavatory Commissionaire during the filming of the 'Not Only...But Also' Christmas Special, starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, stands outside a public convenience on Broadwick Street. (Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images)

(via IBTimes UK)


  1. It was the cover for Green Mindddddddd,

  2. Well- there might be some selection bias- not photographing the fat girls. Invisible as usual. islam quotes
    about life

  3. The poster is a picture of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, not Billy Idol....

  4. I stand corrected, sorry.... I guess i need to look a little closer before shooting my mouth off.... Although, there is a picture of an individual apparently selling posters of Mick Jagger....




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