Red Light Area In London Views
Though mainly fields until the 16th century, the area was briefly settled when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic. After the town was abandoned, part of the area was walled off by 1200 for use as arable land and orchards by Westminster Abbey, and was referred to as the garden of the Abbey and Convent . In 1540 the land belonging to the Abbey, including the area that by now was called the Covent Garden , was seized by Henry VIII, and granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul's. The design of the square was new to London, and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for the laying-out of new estates as London grew.
The area to the south of Long Acre contains the Royal Opera House, the market and central square, and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum; while the area to the north of Long Acre is largely given over to independent retail units centred on Neal Street, Neal's Yard and Seven Dials; though this area also contains residential buildings such as Odhams Walk, built in 1981 on the site of the Odhams print works, and is home to over 6,000 residents.
Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.
Despite the best intentions of landowners such as the Earls of Leicester and Portland to develop the land on the grand scale of neighbouring Bloomsbury, Marylebone and Mayfair, Soho never became a fashionable area for the rich. Immigrants settled in the area: the French church in Soho Square was founded by French Huguenots in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the mid-18th century, the aristocrats who had been living in Soho Square or Gerrard Street had moved away. Soho's character stems partly from the ensuing neglect by rich and fashionable London, and the lack of redevelopment that characterized the neighbouring areas.