Colin Wilson

Murder Mile

Soho: A History of London's Most Colourful Neighbourhood

By

Bloomsbury 240pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

I have an old map of London, dating back to 1574, on which Soho is marked as an area of open fields and woods, with a few weird looking animals – like a cross between horses, cows and geese – dotted about. It always produces a powerful nostalgia to look to the north of Oxford Street (then Tyburn Road) and find nothing but green fields intersected with streams and cart tracks. I experienced much the same kind of nostalgia as I read Judith Summers’ Soho (unnecessarily subtitled ‘A History of London’s Most Colourful Neighbourhood’) and learned, for example, that until the mid-19th century, Soho was full of barns and stables, and its most characteristic odour was of cow dung.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,