The news came through the other day that four of my Soho photo will be featured on the walls of The Society Club from this Friday, May 10, for about a month. Very exciting!
The images were chosen from some submissions to Yelp’s contest to capture this area of London. Any sales go to The Soho School. Stop by if you can. The Society Club made it onto CNN Travel’s list of 10 of the most interesting shops in London. We popped in there a few weeks ago when we were to Ginger & White and it’s definitely eccentric with a quirky mix of books on the shelves lining the walls, a long table in the middle and a small gallery space downstairs. There is also a resident dog that hangs out inside. Stop down and check it out if you get a chance. There should be 24 photos of the area in the exhibition, I believe.
One for the diary! (The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place Soho, W1F 0JF).
And now for some photos from the walk Jorge and I took around the once-much-seedier streets of Soho. These aren’t the photos in the exhibition (except one and I’m not going to tell you which…). I loved that this fish & chips joint is called the Dining Plaice. A little creativity in a shop name goes a long way! Reminds me of The Codfather.
We walked through Berwick Street Market, which is small but still vibrant with the few stalls that are left and the creative shops on their side of the street. In the 60s, this street was the place to buy records from independent shops.
The music scene has been replaced by fruits, vegetables and vintage clothes now and there were a few street photographers scattered around against the walls waiting for a good shot.
I took photos of a few colourful shop fronts because I liked the names or the colours. Soho is still one of London’s eccentric areas and it attracts a creative and trendy crowd as well as a steady stream of tourists.
Flowers were for sale in quite a few places as well, outside shops like the one above, or from vendors working a market stall like the one below. Some of these stalls have likely been passed through families as the market has established in the 18th century.
A little taste of Soho fashion in that one up there as well. And looking up can be key, as my dad says to do in this city. You never know what you might see, like this here roof garden and funky green tiles.
The Market leads into Walkers Court, a little alleyway.
There’s not so much left of London’s sex industry for which this area was the main hub. It still is, but there’s no obvious prostitution on the streets as there was once upon a time. It’s mainly closed up in flats now, indicated by signs that say “model” on street level doorways.
Walkers Court has a few sex shops selling vibrators, whips and DVDs, private dance clubs for a good old striptease and plenty of Viagara advertisements.
From there, we made out way to Soho Square, with its French church, nearby Hare Krishna temple, the British Board of Film Classification and Paul McCartney’s MLP Communications company. In the 1700’s it was home to The White House which was called a “high class magical brothel”…
There’s a small cottage at the center of the square which was an air raid shelter during the Blitz.
Not sure if they are still there, but there was a series of sculptures by Bruce Denny in one corner of the square.
We sat on a bench in the park people watching for a while, enjoying the nice weather.
We had a little wander through Chinatown, where you can get a massage and dinner in the same building…
I found a splash of colour and made Jorge do a bit of modelling for me.
And then we had a tea and cake in Ginger & White, which I loved and wrote about already so I won’t bore you with any more photos. At the end of that same street is The Society Club which the photo exhibition I wrote about above will be held. We couldn’t help but scope it out. If there’s poetry on a board outdoors, that’s always a good start.
We ended up exploring the little basement gallery.
On our way back home, we wandered through the back alleyways.
Sometimes my favourite photographs to take are the simplest ones – little splashes of colour and textures that are tempting to touch.
And, of course, street art, like this Invader piece that’s been in Soho for what seems like forever.
We walked back through the throngs of tourists on Carnaby Street.
And I played a bit of the tourism game outside of Liberty just for fun. When in Rome, right?
Speaking of Liberty, it’s a bit of an institution around here and well worth a visit, particularly the first floor which sells expensive but nice things (and they’re one of only a few shops that stock French brand Sessun, which I love) and the top floor which often gets skipped over but they have some amazing furniture and home decor as well as the brand RE, in a little room of its own, where they sell “raRE, REmarkable, REcycled, REscued and REstored homewares and accessories”.
The old building itself is stunning with its natural light, beautiful wood floors and high ceilings.
Love their creative plant displays!
And the spray-painted shopping baskets in RE are pretty fabulous too.
Do you spend much time in Soho? If so, where’s your favourite place to hang out?