There is no dispute, Carnaby has an iconic heritage. From being the birthplace of Swinging London in the 1960’s, the home of Mods, Skinheads, Punks and New Romantics to the street style tribes of today. Carnaby has and always will be the epicentre of culture and lifestyle in London’s West End.
In 1682 bricklayer, Richard Tyler, laid out Carnaby Street itself, which took it’s name from Karnaby House, the first house built on the street.
1665 was the year of The Great Plague. ‘Pesthouses’ were built for plague victims, the first one in London being on Carnaby Street.
In the 1720s the area was redeveloped to include a market for meat, fish and vegetables in Lowndes Market, later known as Carnaby Market.
The Shakespearean public House, which still stands today on the corner of Carnaby Street and Foubert’s Place was built in 1735.
Regent Street was completed in 1823, segregating Carnaby Street and Soho from Mayfair. The street was built by architect John Nash and was the worlds’ first purpose built shopping street.
Soho was the epicentre of the outbreak of cholera in 1854, epidemiologist John Snow, identified a contaminated water pump on Broadwick Street was the cause and closed it off. He is commemorated by The John Snow pub built on the site of the water pump.
Pictured: Plaque by William Blake, c.1805
Out of hours drinking club Tatty Bogle opened at 11 Kingly Court in 1917.
Pictured: Marshall Street Swimming Baths in 1910.
Vince, credited as the first menswear boutique in the Carnaby Street area, opened at 5 Newburgh Street in 1954.
1952 – John Stephen, previously a shop assistant at Vince, opened ‘His Clothes’ on Beak Street, and later at 5 Carnaby Street. Although his merchandise targeted teenagers, it attracted high profile pop stars including Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. John Stephens went on to open a further 5 shops on Carnaby Street.
For years Carnaby was the place to be if you were a creative in search of inspiration. Carnaby earned its credentials during the 1960s with vibrant clashes of colour, new cultures, exciting new music and a rebellious identity, there was nowhere else like it in London. Music stars including Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and style icons Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor were all Carnaby Street regulars.
Cranks vegetarian restaurant opened in Carnaby in 1961
Lord John, which went on to become an international chain of menswear shops, first opened at 43 Carnaby Street in 1964 by Warren Gold.
Time magazine first described London as the ‘swinging city’ on 15 April 1966.
To promote the opening of new boutique ‘Tom Cat’, owner Irvine Sellar asked Tom Jones to walk down Carnaby Street with ‘Casino Royale’ actress Christine Spooner and a cheetah. – 1966.
The Kinks ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion, talking about the ‘Carnabetian Army’ was released in 1966.
Henry Moss opened womenswear boutique Lady Jane at 29 Carnaby Street with girls changing in the shop windows, which resulted in Mr Moss being arrested for obstructing the highway due to the crowds it drew.
1967 – Jimi Hendrix wore a military jacket bought at ‘I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet’
Paul McCartney meets Linda on 15 May at Bag O’ Nails Club, 9 Kingly Street.
1973 - Carnaby Street was pedestrianised and the iconic ‘Carnaby Street welcomes the World’ sign was installed.
Punk emerged taking Carnaby by storm with The Sex Pistols pictured on the street in 1976, now one of music’s most iconic photographs of the time. Photographed by Ray Stevenson.
The Jam released ‘Carnaby Street’ a B-side to ‘All Around The World’ in 1977.
A new wave of British designers moved into the area including Vivienne Westwood, John Richmond, Mary Quant and Pam Hogg. Carnaby was the place to showcase defiant style. Whether you were a Mod, Punk, Rocker or a Goth, Carnaby was your fashion home.
The legendary hip-hip record store Deal Real opened its doors in 2002 at 3 Marlborough Court. The venue to the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kanye West, Mark Ronson, John Legend, Mos Def and Lupe Fiasco. It became London’s epicenter for hip-hop and urban youth-culture, responsible for showcasing, supporting and nurturing a wealth of burgeoning talent, many of whom went on to attain mainstream success.
Deal Real was brought back to life in 2015 with the Deal Real Legacy pop-up shop at 14 Newburgh Street. Hosting nights with Kano, Tinchy Stryder and Kate Tempest, the store held free weekly in-store signings, performances and workshops.
Carnaby London collaborates with The Rolling Stones to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
Carnaby Echoes, a walking tour app, traces the vibrant music history from the opening of Jazz club Murray’s on Beak Street in 1913 through to the present day. Artist, Lucy Harrison has brought people who worked in the music-connected buildings where history was made, back to the places as they are now to talk about their memories. Contributors include Boy George, Mark Ellen, Lloyd Coxsone and Dynamo.
Download the free app via carnabyechoes.com, the App Store or Google Play. Carnabyechoes.com