Sad, lovely Soho

A few months ago, very few -I posted about my shock in realising that most of the Soho that I had always loved had turned into streets full of chain cafes and bars. I didn’t mention the discount (TK Trash etc.) and junk shops, though I could have. The most awful thing was realising that less than 5 months later one of the few surviving places I had photographed – Jimmy’s – has also closed now.

The Independent has an article about it:

The landlords are agog at the prices that can be charged in London becuase London has a never ending supply of tourists who have no idea the difference between a chain and a proper shop. Nor would I, if I didn’t live here.

Here’s my short list of  my favourite independent businesses in London, that I use often,  in no special order:

  • Camden Lock Books used to be on the lock but now in Old St Station.
  • Haggerston Tea Rooms Haggerston Rd
  • Broadway Books broadway market
  • Morganics Organics shop and cafe
  • the TFS Turkish Food Store in Dalston a supermarket
  • Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho
  • FOPP (Ok it is a chain but a very small one!)
  • just about every cafe and restaurant on the Kingsland road
  • Lorelei in Soho, more for coffee as I don’t eat pizza
  • the Prince Charles Cinema
  • the Rio Cinema
  • Bradley’s  North Soho
  • West End Camera
  • Anderson’s Bakery Hoxton
Anderson's Hoxton
Bradleys Soho

but there are a few chains I do like, such as Jessops – reliable and good service, though I wish they’d up their analogue division at least int he New Oxford St store; Maplin also. I can’t fault them. On the other hand they are specialists in what they do.

It just scares me to think of central London just getting blanded out of existence.