I hate Carnaby Street – it’s up there with Oxford Circus, Leicester Square and Camden of tourist-trap hell.
But Soho wouldn’t be Soho without it.
Carnaby Street was named after Karnaby House, originally built in 1683, and the street followed and was soon filled with smaller houses. These houses were rebuilt in the 1720s, and then again in 1820. For a more detailed description of the development of Carnaby Street, the British History website is good.
Obviously by the 1960s, Carnaby Street was cool, with shops like Mary Quant, Take Six, Lord John, I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, and Irvine Sellars taking up residence in between the small bars. With the Marquee Club on Wardour Street, Carnaby Street became the place for kids to hang out and shop – not least because they might bump into the Rolling Stones, The Who or The Beatles.
Carnaby Street didn’t diminish in popularity in the 1970s or 1980s – The Sex Pistols and The Jam both hung out there, with Paul Weller and his stupid fringe adding to the Mod vibe.
Here are some pics:
Want to see more? Take a look at my Carnaby Street Pinterest board.