Soho in the Next Decade: The Same Only Different | My Soho Times

We ask people who LIVE WORK PLAY in Soho their vision of the next decade…

Gillian Smith, a film producer shares her thoughts.

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Gillian Smith, producer

Soho is a shape shifter that still manages to maintain its original outline.  It has its glamorously tarnished reputation to consider… so fears that its current, almost respectable, 21st century incarnation will finish it off as a creative hub for the unconventional are misplaced.  Or so I believe. Let’s face it the old dear (a whole square mile of her) has survived everything from cholera to clip joints and still emerged with a little gold dust clinging to the crumbs.  So I have every confidence that Soho can accommodate the art installations and ad men without becoming an ersatz version of herself in the near future.

Personally I love the place. 

My mother lived on the outskirts in the 1950s when working at the now vanished Regent Palace Hotel (a small fraction remains via restaurant Zedel and the American Bar in the basement).   As the swinging 60s dawned she was downing coffee in Bar Italia and hunting out bargains at Berwick Street market, decades later her tales of the city must have hit home, my very first London job was in Foyles Bookshop and the caffeine and discounts were more or less where she left them.  Foyles might have shuffled itself a few feet further down Charing Cross Road, but at least it’s still there, along with nearby Denmark Street’s tin pan alley.  Soho has staying power.

And let’s face it, the actual area it occupies has always been a little elastic. Does it start or stop at Piccadilly?  Gerrard Street is most definitely ‘in’ but Seven Dials… too close to Covent Garden…? And how far East qualifies… other side of St Giles’s Circus…?  Probably best not to speculate, Soho has always been wary of boundaries…  a good omen for the next ten years.

Read the winter issue of My Soho Times online CLICK HERE

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