Soho – Snippets of history from the world’s greatest capital city!

The name Soho is believed to have originated from the hunting cry of the huntsmen who went out with the King from Whitehall to St James Park to hunt deer.  When a deer was spotted, up went the cry of “Soho!”

Being Estate Agents who have served the area of Soho since 1901 we have seen many changes, but Soho had been through many changes way before our time.  First developed in the late seventeenth century it became a desirable place for successful residents, including Sir Isaac Newton and William Hogarth – both of whose houses have sadly since been demolished.   However by the mid-1700s these people had moved to grander houses in other areas, and many more people flooded in from the continent and by the mid-19th century Soho had become one of the most overcrowded areas in the capital.   Now Soho is dominated by commercial premises and Davis Brown commercial agents know this only too well!

Let’s start with Dean Street –it was once home to Communist Karl Marx who lived at number 28 from 1851 until 1856.  He moved to London from his homeland of Prussia where he was expelled, shortly before the publication of his Communist Manifesto in 1848. He lived here in relative poverty and two of his young children died here, but his daughter Eleanor who was born here later became an important socialist campaigner.

Samuel Morse – the American painter and the inventor of the Morse Code lived at 141 Cleveland St from 1812 to 1815.  Massachusetts born, he came to London in 1811 studied at the Royal Academy and became friends with many other creative types including Wordsworth, Turner and Coleridge.  We later lost this great who returned to America where he became the renowned as the scientist who founded the Morse Code.

John Hunter the influential Scottish surgeon resided at 31 Golden Square from 1765 to 1768. Whilst living here he began the anatomical research and lecturing which earned him election as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1767.   Following Hunter’s death, his natural history collection was presented to what was soon to become the Royal College of Surgeons and in 1813 the Hunterian Museum was opened at the college where it can still be found today.

Other famous folk who graced Soho with their presence include William Hazlitt the essayist, Arthur Onslow – Speaker of the House of Commons, Thomas Sheraton the furniture designer.  So as you can see – steeped in history Soho is definitely a fascinating place to visit and if you ever need a guide to point you in the right direction feel free to pop in to Davis Brown Estate Agents at Margaret Street.



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