Daniel Farson’s book ‘Soho in the Fifties’ is a lousy read. Full of boring tales of drunks in the French House, the Colony Rooms, the Groucho blah blah blah, it is enough to shatter one’s illusions about this still marvellous chunk of the heart of London. And I refuse to have MY version of the past destroyed by someone else’s tedious writing, so I take joy in the endpapers in this book, the map of Soho above, which delightfully illustrates the key spots in the area in the 1950s. In fact the detail on this map, and the charming photograph on the book’s jacket (which I’ll post up soon), are enough to convince me that Farson has only accounted for the drunken Jeffrey Bernard-Francis Bacon-Muriel Belcher side of the story and has omitted virtually everything else. I mean, how can I take this book seriously? It doesn’t mention Bernard Kops or Sam Widges once…

Nor the Sunshine Club in Meard St where as a 16 year old I would get propositioned every day after dropping the rushes off at Studio Film Labs next door. Nor ‘Shoes’ in Walkers Court, from 1949 onwards the precursor of Soho Shoes then John Rushton Shoes. Nor Great Uncle Hymie Green who owned the half of Soho that Paul Raymond didn’t yet as an 80 year old lived in a one room flat on Brewer St above Soho Electrics with his 65 year old girlfriend (great uncle to author Jane Green) and so on and so on…


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *