The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 15 Regent Street and Soho

Soho Square

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Both Frith St. and Greek St. lead north to Soho Square, once a highly fashionable abode. On the south side is the Hospital for Women, established in 1842, removed hither in 1851, and recently rebuilt. On the east side is St. Patrick's Church (Roman Catholic), opened in 1793, a red-brick Renaissance structure by Kelly, with a corner campanile 125 feet high. It occupies the site of Carlisle House, famous for the assembly-rooms of Mrs. Teresa Cornelys (circa 1760-72). The French Protestant Church (1893), on the north side, replaces Soho Academy, a school at which Theodore Hook and Turner were pupils. Soho Square dates from 1681. The Duke of Monmouth had a mansion here on the south side, and at the battle of Sedgmoor (1685) chose 'Soho' as his watchword. In the next century the square was one of the most fashionable addresses in London, and was a favourite residence of ambassadors. Sir Roger de Coverley had town-quarters here. Sir Joseph Banks came to live in 1777 at No. 32, where some good ceilings still remain. Sir Robert Walpole lived at No. 6 (rebuilt). In No. 28 (circa 1773) are a ceiling by Flaxman and other 18th century details. Alderman Beckford lived at what is now the House of Charity, at the corner of Greek St., and the interior retains some interesting features. No. 20 was at one time the house of Earl Fauconberg, who married Cromwell's third daughter, and from about 1753 to 1761 it was the residence of Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons for 33 years. It afterwards acquired an evil reputation as the 'White House,' an aristocratic haunt of vice. A statue of Charles II. (removed to Harrow in 1876) once stood in this square. Farther to the east is the broad thoroughfare of Charing Cross Road, which unites Trafalgar Square with Oxford St., at the foot of Tottenham Court Road. The south portion of this street has already been described. To the north of Cambridge Circus is the church of St. Mary the Virgin, on the left, the nave of which, rebuilt in 1900, originally belonged to the first Greek church in London. Inside, on the west wall, is an old Greek inscription recording the fact that it was built for the Greek community in 1677. In 1682 the church was assigned to the French Huguenots. In 1822-49 it was in the hands of Dissenters, but since 1856 it has been Anglican. The present church was built in 1872-74. Oxford St., see Walk 14.