Coordinates: 51°30′42″N 0°8′14″W / 51.51167°N 0.13722°W / 51.51167; -0.13722

Golden Square, Soho. The central statue is one of only two public statues of George II in the capital. In the background, the sculpture of a reclining man is Catafalque by Sean Henry.
Golden Square, Soho. The central statue is one of only two public statues of George II in the capital. In the background, the sculpture of a reclining man is Catafalque by Sean Henry.
Looking north on Golden Square
Looking north on Golden Square

Golden Square, in Soho, the City of Westminster, London, is a mainly hardscaped garden square planted with a few mature trees and raised borders in Central London flanked by classical office buildings. Its four approach ways are north and south but it is centred 125 metres east of Regent Street and double that NNE of Piccadilly Circus. A small block south is retail/leisure street Brewer Street. The square and its buildings have featured in many works of literature and host many media, advertising and public relations companies that characterise its neighbourhood within Soho.

History

Booth's Poverty Map, 1889, identifies the square and its approach ways had middle incomes; high poverty pervaded the backstreets beyond the block north and east.

Originally the site of a plague pit,[1] this west London square was brought into being from the 1670s onwards.[2] The square was possibly laid down by Sir Christopher Wren; the plan bears Wren's signature, but the patent does not state whether it was submitted by the petitioners or whether it originated in Wren's office.[2] It very rapidly became the political and ambassadorial district of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, housing the Portuguese embassy among others.[2]

The town house of the first Viscount Bolingbroke, much favoured by Queen Anne graced the square.[2] The statue of George II sculpted by John Nost in 1724 came from Cannons House in March 1753.[3] William Pitt the Elder was born in the Square in 1708. Confusion surrounds whether the statue represents King George II of Great Britain, or King Charles II, as noted on the signage in Golden Square. Oral history recounts that the statue was accidentally won at auction, when the winning bidder raised his hand to greet a friend; the purchase price so low that he decided not to contest and gave the statue as a gift to the people of Golden Square.

Listed buildings

Numbering and traffic proceed clockwise.

In film, fiction and the media

Although a few members of the graver professions live about Golden Square, it is not exactly in anybody's way to or from anywhere. It is one of the squares that have been; a quarter of the town that has gone down in the world, and taken to letting lodgings. Many of its first and second floors are let, furnished, to single gentlemen; and it takes boarders besides. It is a great resort of foreigners. The dark-complexioned men who wear large rings, and heavy watch-guards, and bushy whiskers, and who congregate under the Opera Colonnade, and about the box-office in the season, between four and five in the afternoon, when they give away the orders,--all live in Golden Square, or within a street of it. Two or three violins and a wind instrument from the Opera band reside within its precincts. Its boarding-houses are musical, and the notes of pianos and harps float in the evening time round the head of the mournful statue, the guardian genius of a little wilderness of shrubs, in the centre of the square. On a summer's night, windows are thrown open, and groups of swarthy moustached men are seen by the passer-by, lounging at the casements, and smoking fearfully. Sounds of gruff voices practising vocal music invade the evening's silence; and the fumes of choice tobacco scent the air. There, snuff and cigars, and German pipes and flutes, and violins and violoncellos, divide the supremacy between them. It is the region of song and smoke. Street bands are on their mettle in Golden Square; and itinerant glee- singers quaver involuntarily as they raise their voices within its boundaries.

Notable residents

Current residents

References

  1. ^ "Plague Pits in London | Interactive Map".
  2. ^ a b c d e Survey of London: Vol. 31 and 32, St. James Westminster, Part 2, ed. F.H.W. Sheppard (London, 1963).
  3. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851, Rupert Gunnis
  4. ^ Historic England. "34-36 Golden Square (1357036)". National Heritage List for England.
  5. ^ Historic England. "11 Golden Square (1357035)". National Heritage List for England.
  6. ^ Historic England. "19 Golden Square (1066762)". National Heritage List for England.
  7. ^ Historic England. "20 Golden Square and merged addresses from neighbouring streets (1392616)". National Heritage List for England.
  8. ^ Historic England. "21 Golden Square (1289209)". National Heritage List for England.
  9. ^ Historic England. "23 Golden Square (1066763)". National Heritage List for England.
  10. ^ Historic England. "24 Golden Square (1213136)". National Heritage List for England.
  11. ^ "James Gardner 1808-1840", David L Walker, Sheetlines, 101 (December 2014), pp31-38
  12. ^ Clear Channel UK
  13. ^ Clear Channel International
  14. ^ M&C Saatchi
  15. ^ M&C Saatchi Performance