Greek Street

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Greek Street
Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Shown within Greater London
Former name(s)Hogs Lane
Length0.2 mi [1] (0.3 km)
LocationSoho, London
Postal code W1
Nearest Tube station Underground no-text.svg Leicester Square
Coordinates 51°30′50″N0°07′51″W / 51.5139°N 0.1308°W / 51.5139; -0.1308 Coordinates: 51°30′50″N0°07′51″W / 51.5139°N 0.1308°W / 51.5139; -0.1308
north endSoho Square
south endUK road A401.PNG A401 road

Greek Street is a street in Soho, London, leading south from Soho Square to Shaftesbury Avenue. The street is famous for its restaurants and cosmopolitan nature.

Soho District in London, United Kingdom

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Soho Square square in Soho, London, England

Soho Square is a garden square in Soho, London owned until at least 1966 by the Portland family but which has since 1954 been de facto a public park leased by the Soho Square Garden Committee to Westminster City council. It was originally called King Square after Charles II. Its statue of Charles II has stood since the square's 1681 founding except between 1875 and 1938; it is today well-weathered. By the time of the drawing of a keynote map of London in 1746 the newer name for the square had gained sway. During the summer, Soho Square hosts open-air free concerts.



Hogarth's 'Noon' from Four Times of the Day , showing the church in the background Hogarthgiles.jpg
Hogarth's 'Noon' from Four Times of the Day , showing the church in the background

It is thought to take its name from a Greek church that was built in 1677 in adjacent Crown Street, now part of the west side of Charing Cross Road. The church is depicted in William Hogarth's 'Noon' from Four Times of the Day . [2]

Greek Orthodox Church Orthodox Christian denominations descended from a Greek cultural tradition, Wikimedia disambiguation page

The name Greek Orthodox Church, or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the Septuagint and the New Testament, and whose history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and the culture of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox Christianity has also traditionally placed heavy emphasis and awarded high prestige to traditions of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and asceticism, with origins in Early Christianity in the Near East and in Byzantine Anatolia.

Charing Cross Road street in central London

Charing Cross Road is a street in central London running immediately north of St Martin-in-the-Fields to St Giles Circus and then becomes Tottenham Court Road. It is so called because it leads from the north in the direction of Charing Cross at the south side of Trafalgar Square, which it connects via St Martin's Place and the motorised east side of the square.

William Hogarth English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist

William Hogarth FRSA was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects", perhaps best known being his moral series A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress and Marriage A-la-Mode. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian".

Although the street has several houses from the 18th century and earlier, it is mainly 19th-century in appearance.

No. 1 Greek Street is the House of St Barnabas, built in 1746. It became the offices of the Westminster Commissioner for Works for Sewers in 1811. This is where Chief Engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette started to work on the construction of the London sewerage system. By 1862 the house had been taken over by The House of Charity, which was established in 1846 to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people. Charles Dickens used the house and gardens as a model for the London lodgings of Dr Manette and Lucy in A Tale of Two Cities . [3] [4]

House of St Barnabas Grade I listed building in City of Westminster, United Kingdom

The House of St Barnabas, at 1 Greek Street, Soho, is a Grade I Listed Georgian building in London notable for its rococo plasterwork interiors and for other architectural features.

London sewerage system sewerage system

The London sewerage system is part of the water infrastructure serving London, England. The modern system was developed during the late 19th century, and as London has grown the system has been expanded. It is currently owned and operated by Thames Water and serves almost all of Greater London.

Charles Dickens English writer and social critic

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

There has been a public house known as Pillars of Hercules at no. 7 since 1733. The current pub building sports some artwork by Invader and was long favoured by many figures in the London literary scene, including Martin Amis, Ian Hamilton, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan. Indeed, Clive James named his second book of literary criticism (At the Pillars of Hercules) after it.

Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Bar Hercules, historically the Pillars of Hercules, is a pub in Greek Street, Soho, London. Most of what exists was built around 1910, but the pub dates back to 1733. The road at the side of the pub through the arch is named Manette Street, after Dr Manette, one of the characters from A Tale Of Two Cities, who is described in the book as living near Soho Square.

Invader (artist) French urban artist

Invader is the pseudonym of a French urban artist, whose work is modelled on the crude pixellation of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games. He took his name from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders, and much of his work is composed of square ceramic tiles inspired by video game characters. Although he prefers to remain incognito, his creations can be seen in many highly-visible locations in more than 65 cities in 33 countries. He documents each intervention in a city as an "Invasion", and has published books and maps of the location of each of his street mosaics.

Martin Amis British novelist

Martin Louis Amis is a British novelist, essayist, memoirist, and screenwriter. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date. Amis served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester until 2011. In 2008, The Times named him one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

In the mid-eighteenth century, no. 9 was the location of the Turk's Head Tavern, where a well-known lodge of Freemasons met. The Ancient Grand Lodge of England was organized there on 17 July 1751. [5]

Freemasonry group of fraternal organizations

Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. The three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies.

The Coach and Horses pub (also known as Norman's), famous for the rudeness of its former landlord Norman Balon, is at no. 29, at the corner with Romilly Street. The fortnightly editorial lunch of Private Eye is held in the Coach and Horses. There has been a public house of that name on the site since the 1720s.

Coach and Horses, Soho pub in Soho, London

The Coach and Horses at 29 Greek Street on the corner with Romilly Street in Soho, London, is a grade II listed public house.

<i>Private Eye</i> British satirical and current affairs magazine

Private Eye is a British fortnightly satirical and current affairs news magazine, founded in 1961. It is published in London and has been edited by Ian Hislop since 1986.

No. 47 is known for having provided temporary lodgings for Giacomo Casanova, famed Venetian adventurer and author, in 1764.

No. 49, on the west side of Greek Street, was the home of the legendary folk music club Les Cousins.

No. 58 was a temporary lodging for Thomas De Quincey in 1802, as described in Part I of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater .

The noted Victorian sheet music lithographer Alfred Concanen was living at no. 66 with his wife and children in 1861.

In the southern part of the street (past Old Compton Street), no. 28 is the site of Maison Bertaux, a renowned French pâtisserie, founded in 1871. Owned by sisters Michele and Tania Wade, it is known as the headquarters of the artist Martin Firrell. The upstairs tea room shows work by comedian and artist Noel Fielding and members of Icelandic band Sigur Rós, among others. It is also the home of the Maison Bertaux Theatre Club, which performs within the tiny confines of the shop. [6]

The street is the setting for the 1930 film Greek Street , directed by Sinclair Hill and starring Sari Maritza and William Freshman.

In the 1971 film Villain , the crime lord Vic Dakin (Richard Burton) recommends Greek Street as a venue of prostitution. "Try the Manhattan Club in Greek Street... lot of 'sunburnt' girls there... for twenty quid they'll do anything... enjoy yourself!"

"Hot Neon", a song featured in the 1976 British TV series Rock Follies , begins: "She writhes in her bed/ In her sweltering room/ In Greek Street/ She tosses and moans/ And her glistening sweat/ Stains the silk sheets/ She is dreaming of…/ Hot neon".

Former occupants

In the present day

Greek Street is known for its selection of restaurants and cafes, which currently include a Hungarian restaurant ( The Gay Hussar at No. 2), an oriental organic vegetarian restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a pizzeria, a traditional Chinese restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant. There is also a gallery, a whisky shop, several bars and some offices. [8] At number 48 is L'Escargot, a Michelin-starred restaurant. There are also several "walk-ups" (providers of legal prostitution) along the street.[ citation needed ]

The street crosses Manette Street, Bateman Street, Old Compton Street and Romilly Street.

Current occupants

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  1. "Driving directions to Greek St". Google . Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  2. Sheppard, F. H. W. "Survey of London Volumes 33 and 34". English Heritage. - although some sources claim the church is St Giles in the Fields
  3. The Informal Education Homepage Archived 16 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. House of St Barnabas
  5. Coil, Henry Wilson: "Ancient Grand Lodge of England," pg. 237. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, publ. 1961, 1996, Macoy Publ. Co., Richmond, Va.
  6. WCitie Destinations Guide
  7. 1 2 "Greek Street Area: Portland Estate, Greek Street". British History Online.
  8. "Soho and Chinatown, London - map, shops, bars, restaurants". Street Sensation.