Fascinating Vintage Photos of Soho in the 1950s That Show Street Scenes and Everyday Life

In the 1950s Soho was the center of beatnik culture in London. The area was dominated by clubs, bars, and sex shops. Gangs controlled the clubs and bars, and the police were bribed. Many small and easily affordable restaurants and cafes were also established. It was the golden era of British Jazz, Rock and Roll, and Mod culture. Many espresso bars were also opened and they also featured coffee with some famous music. The Berwick Street Market was a bustling marketplace way back in 1956. The Palace Theatre hosted the Shakespeare plays during the 1950s.

These fascinating vintage photos from the 1950s will take you back to the old Soho, London. They show parties, youth culture, and the street life of Soho during its vibrant years.

#1 London’s youth hang out on the streets of Soho in 1956.

#4 The Windmill girls dash across London’s Soho to a party in 1953.

#5 The first prizewinning tableau on parade through the streets of Soho, London, at the opening of the Soho Fair in 1955.

#7 Waiters carrying half bottles of champagne set off on the annual waiters’ race from Soho Square to Greek Street in 1955.

#8 Mirv Arvinen (Miss Finland 1955) and Soho’s Fair Queen Andria Loran (right) try their hand at scoffing a plate of pasta at the Soho Fair spaghetti-eating contest on Frith Street, Soho, London in 1956.

#9 Andria Loran, a model in London’s Soho, democratically elected ‘Queen of Soho 1956’, stands in the doorway of the Mambo Club.

#11 A man in drag heads a carnival procession down Old Compton Street during the Soho Fair in 1956.

#12 London’s youth hang out on the streets of Soho in 1956.

#13 A group of young women ‘hanging out’ on the streets of Soho, London in 1956.

#14 A view down along the shops, cafes and bars from the junction of Old Compton Street and Frith Street in London’s Soho in 1959.

#15 The Barbour Brothers from Blackpool strolling down Shaftesbury Avenue, 1952.

#16 Londoners relaxing during a summer heat wave at St Anne’s Churchyard Gardens, 1952.

#17 A banjo player entertaining the customers outside the Windmill Theatre, 1953.

#18 A couple dancing at jazz club the Blue Heaven, 1954.

#20 Waiters carrying half bottles of champagne setting off on the annual waiters’ race from Soho Square to Greek Street, 1955.

#22 Two women leaning out the windows of a brothel, 1956.

#24 Miss Soho waving to the crowds during the annual Soho Fair, 1956.

#26 London’s youth hanging out on the backstreets, 1956.

#27 A group playing and jiving in the street at a fair, 1957.

#28 Six models giving a preview of the latest in French haute couture, 1958.

#29 Brewer Street and the corner of Wardour Street in Soho, London, July 1956.

#30 Noel Coward chats With Michael Wilding In Soho’s Berwick Market

#32 School Teacher Pam Heagren Singing At Cy Laurie’s A Soho Jazz Club, April 1956.

#33 African ball at Le Condor Club in Wardour street Soho London 16 Nov 1956.

#34 Brewer Street and the corner of Wardour Street in Soho, London, 29 Jul 1956.

#35 Chef John Wright Former Sergeant in the Catering Corps Cooking in the Kitchen of the Moulin D’or Restaurant Soho, 27 Dec 1955

#36 G Parmigiani Figlio Ltd delicatessen, Soho, 29 Jul 1956

#37 Left Nicholas Mosley (Baron Ravensdale) And Mrs Raymond Carr Right Lady Grantley And David Tennant Dancing At The Gargoyle Club In Soho London.

#38 Soho’s Fair Queen Andria Loran (real Name Maureen Smith) tries her skill at Spaghetti Eating, July 1956.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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