Monday, November 13, 2006

Soho Square - London

Soho Square in London filled with people

This photo from Soho Square, London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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Soho Square is, as can be seen from this photo, very popular in the summer when almost every square millimeter of grass is occupied for about 2 hours when the workers in the surrounding offices in Soho come out for lunch. Since Soho contains a vast number of firms that deal with all aspects of film and advertising (Soho is said to be the advertising capital of Europe) and is also home to the Football Association, there are plenty of takers for the lawns of the Square.

Soho Square is tucked away in a corner of Soho and is actually quite easy to miss all together. It is separated from both Oxford Street and Charring Cross Road by buildings (which insulate the square from the noise of the traffic) and linked to them by short narrow streets. Thus while Oxford Street can be 2 miles of pressed bodies shuffling toe to heal in search of bargains, drop off into Soho Square and you can forget what all the shoving was about.

Soho Square began life in 1681 when Kemps Field was developed by Richard Firth, originally called Kings Square after Charles II, and containing a statue of the King. At this time it was a fashionable and expensive place to live (now Soho is a fashionable and expensive place to have a business). Charles II had an illegitimate son (by his mistress Lucy Walter), the Duke of Monmoth, who lived in Kings Square. The Duke had a habit of shouting ‘So Ho’ whenever he went hunting or into battle and the name of the square changed to Soho Square in the popular mind.

Soho Square was also very popular with Dr. John Snow who famously linked the cholera of 1854 in Soho to the water pump located in Broad Street through epidemiology. Dr. Snow is often regarded as one of the founding fathers of epidemiology and the John Snow memorial pump still stands in Broad Street. It is said that Soho Square was one of his favorite places.

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The nearest tube station to Soho Square is Tottenham Court Road.

The full panoramic image taken of Soho Square can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on London see the London Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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