Street markets in Soho in 1956

Saturday, 19 Mar 2016

Short film from 1956 documenting Soho in the 50s. Astonishly modern and vibrant.

This gloriously colourful day-in-the-life portrait of mid-50s Soho and its annual Summer Fair is a nostalgia trip for anyone familiar with central London's beloved bohemian sanctuary - or what's left of it. This was a thriving and truly multicultural community: Italian delis, French patisseries and Greek-Cypriot cafes jostled for space alongside jazz bars like the Granada, while market traders hawked exotic foods yet to be discovered by most British people (aubergine, anyone?).

I particularly enjoyed this passage (4:00) "Here you will meet many nationalities, and hear many languages. At almost any time of the day - or night, you will see groups of Swiss, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Cypriot and coloured nationals in or near the many cafe bars. All minding their own business, in their own way."

The waiters race (15:00) is also something to behold! Complete with jaunty music.