How did Soho get its name?

Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis, via Flickr, using Creative Commons.
Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis, via Flickr, using Creative Commons.

Few place names in London or elsewhere roll off the tongue like Soho. It’s a salaciously dangerous whisper of a word, like that of an exotic club you should steer well clear of. But where was the evocative moniker conjured from in the first place?

The common held theory is that ‘soho’ is an old hunting cry. In the 16th century this area of central London was a hunting ground, and it’s widely claimed ‘soho’ was used either to encourage or to call off harrier dogs when fetching game, namely hares. Steve Coogan, playing porn baron Paul Raymond in the 2013 film The Look of Love goes along with that theory (yelling ‘soho’ out of the back of his Rolls-Royce), as does the esteemed Brewers Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable (adding that ‘soho’ was a synonym for ‘tally-ho’)… [read more]


How Did Soho Get Its Name? by Will Noble, first published on Londonist.com, Dec 16 2015.

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