I have been walking around Soho for many years and thought that I must have walked every street, I didn’t realise until very recently just how difficult it would be to know for sure that I had.
Crossrail has obliterated some streets, others have been built over, one is almost filled by a Chinese restaurant, another oddly named street is still there (just about) but goes unmarked.
No single map I know of contains every street, court, mews etc. Depending upon personal interpretation there are at least 119 thoroughfares left but no more than 130. The only way to see them all is to walk the streets. For a couple of months I did this armed with a clipboard, a variety of maps and a vigilant eye.
What I can be certain of now is that I have indeed walked every street in Soho, the well known, the new, the obscure and the dubious.
In a truly nerdish way I analysed the results of my labours. I share with you here a chart showing the breakdown of names of every Soho thoroughfare:
I have also started taking groups of walkers on a day long tour to enable them to say that they too have “walked every street in Soho”.
Last week I was joined by an intrepid group of London enthusiasts. We started at 10am and walked through snow and wind until 6pm, stopping only for coffee, drinks and lunch. At the end of the day we toasted our achievement with cocktails and every participant was presented with a unique souvenir.
It was such a good day that I’ll be repeating this event again in July.