TRAVEL: BERWICK STREET

Shopping Soho style…

Words: Jessica Fogarty

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This famous London shopping street is transforming! Work in new underway to extend the cobbles, making room for even more businesses in Berwick. The street is home to one of the capital’s oldest markets and is conveniently located on the walking route from Shaftesbury Avenue to Oxford Street. Work is set to be completed by 2016 but its business as usual until then…

HISTORY

THE BERWICK STREET RAG TRADE

Berwick Street is synonymous with the fashion and textile industry.  In the early 20th century the shops and stalls were popular with young working girls shopping for silk stockings and affordable ready-to-wear fashion.

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FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CHARACTERS

Berwick Street has seen its fair share of quirky characters over the years – from actors to writers, gangsters to musicians.

Did you know? The notorious Chevalier d’Eon (1728 – 1810) lived at 38 Brewer Street (now No. 71) as a woman for thirty-three years. He was a diplomat, writer, spy, brilliant swordsman and elegant transvestite.

THE MARKET

Street trading in Berwick Street probably started in the late 1770s when shopkeepers displayed their wares on the pavements, but it was not officially recognised as a market until 1892.

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MUSIC

Berwick Street has strong connections with the music industry throughout history. In the 1980s, Berwick Street became a destination for vinyl record collectors when it was known as ‘The Golden Mile of Vinyl’.  This corner of Soho is still home to central London’s largest concentration of independent record shops.

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Did you know? Berwick Street was the location for the cover shoot of the 1995 Oasis album ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’. Ian Brown cycled backwards down Berwick Street in the music video for F.E.A.R. and T-Rex front man Marc Bolan worked on his mum’s stall on Berwick Street market in the 1960s.

SHOP

Nudie Jeans – 29 D’Arblay Street

Swedish denim label Nudie Jeans have recently opened their first ever UK store on the corner of D’Arblay Street and Berwick Street. The concept store is also home to the first Nudie Global Repair Station, offering customers an alteration and repair service on their well-loved Nudie Jeans by a denim specialist. If they’re beyond repair then hand them back to the store and they’ll give you discount off your next pair. Nudie recycle all used demin – even the rug in store is made from recycled jeans.

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Soho Bikes – 26 Berwick Street

Soho Bikes specialise in mountain biking so you can buy top of the range bikes and accessories, get your bike checked, fixed and serviced, watch the latest biking events on an in-store screen and enjoy a coffee and pastry all in one place. Part owned by Rob Warner, a professional mountain biker, many visitors pop in just to relax with a flat white in the chilled atmosphere. This venue definitely rocks a cool Soho vibe.

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Berwick Street Cloth Shop – 14 Berwick Street

The Berwick Street Cloth Shop offers an extensive and diverse range of thousands of fabrics. The creative and knowledgeable sales team will help you to visualise ideas and find fabrics to match any brief.

Sister Ray – 34-35 Berwick Street

Starting from a humble record stall on Camden Market in the mid 80s, Sister Ray has steadily grown into one of London’s most recognised suppliers of quality, alternative vinyl and CDs. Sister Ray is the largest independent record store in London’s West End, stocking the finest new releases, a huge range of classic albums and a superb selection of rare and second- hand vinyl.

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Bang Bang – 9 Berwick Street

Tapping into a growing interest for vintage fashion and the need to re-use and recycle clothing, Bang Bang buy vintage, interesting, and bold clothing from people who no longer wish to wear them and sell them to people who do.

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MUST-TRY MARKET STALLS:

Jerusalem Falafel |The only place where you can buy hot, freshly- made falafel wraps from a shed!

Paradise Juice Bar | Mouth- watering fresh fruit smoothies made in front of you- irresistible

Pizza Pilgrims | Napoli- inspired hot street food served from the back of a converted Piaggio van.

Tongue ‘n’ Cheek |Street food inspired by unusual cuts of meat and with an Italian touch.

The Bread Man | Divine smells wafting from this stall make it impossible to not stop- a huge variety of fresh bread hot from the oven.

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