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Les Enfants Terribles
Frith Street, London W1  
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Frith Street 1955
Frith Street 1955.jpg
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5 Frith Street 1964
5 Frith Street (1731) 1964.jpg
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©British History Online

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5 Frith Street 1964 - portico
5 Frith Street (1731) 1964 - portico.jpg
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©British History Online

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6-7 Frith Street 1958
6 and 7 Frith Street (1718) 1958.jpg
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6-7 Frith Street 1964
6 and 7 Frith Street (1718) 1964.jpg
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©British History Online

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14 Frith Street 1956
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14-18 Frith Street featuring the Blue Moon strip club
14-18 Frith Street featuring the Blue Moon strip club.jpg
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15-17 Frith Street 1955
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15-17 Frith Street 1955 November
15-17 Frith Street 1955 November.jpg
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15 Frith Street 1956 - Isola Bella
15 Frith Street 1956 - Isola Bella.jpg
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15 Frith Street 1956 November
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15 Frith Street 1965
15 Frith Street (1816) 1965.jpg
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18-23 Frith Street 1955
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19-22 Frith Street 1977
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Adrian  Is this 1978 does anyone know?

2012-11-25-13:03:22

jon friend  The car had a K registration which mean anytime after 1971 but the bell bottom jeans would indicate some time aprpox. before 1978

2013-01-24-20:29:16

Adrian  Well some people never change with the times so the bell-bottoms are not really a clue.

2013-01-25-12:17:26

CHARLES  the photograph wrote october 1977 under the picture, i am certain it is correct !!

2013-02-16-16:00:34

Jon Friend  Yes I was spot on as in 1978 bells and lapels were being tapered,

2013-07-09-22:10:58

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20-23 Frith Street 1963
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20-23B Frith Street 1966 - with Bar Italia
20-23B Frith Street 1966 - with Bar Italia.jpg
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22-23 Frith Street - showing Jimmy's and Angelucci's
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22-23 Frith Street 1955
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23 Frith Street 1955
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Ian Sutton  Corner where Jack 'Spot' Comer and Albert Dimes had their famous encounter in 1955.

2014-01-28-23:49:20

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23 Frith Street 1960's
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23 Frith Street 1960
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23 Frith Street 1973 and Old Compton Street
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24 Frith Street 1956 19th March - A continental bookshop
24 Frith Street 1956 19th March - A continental bookshop.jpg
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24 Frith Street 1956 June - Continental Newsagent
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24-27 Frith Street 1950's
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29 Frith Street 1950's - Moka Bar
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29 Frith Street 1954 August - Moka Bar
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37-41 Frith Street 1964
37 and 38 (1781) and 39-41 (1743) Frith Street 1964.jpg
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©British History Online

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37-41 Frith Street 1971 August
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43 Frith Street 1920's and 36 Old Compton Street
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43 Frith Street 1959 and 36 Old Compton Street
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46-47 Frith Street 1921
46-47 Frith Street (1832) 1921.jpg
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49-50 Frith Street 1962
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51-52 Frith Street 1921
51-52 Frith Street (1805) 1921.jpg
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58-66 Frith Street 1943
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59-60 Frith Street
59 Frith Street (1800-1) and 60 Frith Street (1778).jpg
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60 Frith Street 1962
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63-64 Frith Street 2015 - used to house al camino pizzeria
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The first known mention of this street by name (if a later recital may be relied upon) is in June 1678, when Richard Frith and William Pym leased a site on the west side for building. It was then called a new street. It is first named in the ratebooks in 1680, but with only three ratepayers. Ogilby and Morgan's map of 16812 shows the street fully built but this is certainly a mistake. The chief period of building was in the 1680's. Eighteen ratepayers are named in 1683, and twenty-one in 1685. The ratebooks for 168690 are missing. Forty-two ratepayers are listed in 1691, when the street was fully developed except for those parts (all the east side north of Bateman Street and the west side north of No. 64) which were at that time included in the curtilages of houses in Soho Square.

The street name obviously derives from that of the main developer, Richard Frith (who was conceivably the 'Mr. Frith' rated for a house on the east side in 1684): the name of the street, like Richard Frith's, was sometimes transformed into 'Thrift', as on Rocque's map published in 1746.

The east side of the street north of Bateman Street was built up in the early eighteenth century: Nos. 610 (consec.), which did not form part of the Portland estate, in 1718 and Nos. 25 (consec.) in c. 1731. Three additional houses were added at the northern end of the west side (the former Nos. 6567 consec.) by new building or reconstruction in the 1760's on the rearward curtilage of No. 31 Soho Square.

Almost nothing is known of the identity of the building tradesmen directly responsible for the first houses here, although it happens that two houses which can reasonably be associated with a known builder, Richard Campion, still survive in carcase (Nos. 6061). Alexander Williams, probably the bricklayer, was rated for a house on the west side c. 16913.

A third builder, John Markham, carpenter, was in 1680 building six houses identified as being in this street and Romilly Street. He and Frith mutually agreed for the completion of the carpenter's and bricklayer's work respectively but the disputes in which they became involved delayed the completion of the houses and consigned Markham to gaol.

From its early days until about the 1770's the street usually had two or more persons of title resident in it. The French element among the ratepaying occupants was a little less marked than in some other streets of Soho, if the occurrence of French-seeming names in the parish ratebooks may be taken as a rough guide; it becomes more noticeable in the 1730's and 1740's. As in Dean Street, by the 1790's few of the ratepayers' names look foreign.

'Dancing Schools' are mentioned in the street in 1693 and 'Mr. Hume's Dancing School' or 'great Dancing Room' in 171012. It was latterly run by Anthony Fert, a 'French Dancing Master'. It is probable that it was situated at the south-east corner with Bateman Street, and that the building was subsequently used by the wellknown tapestry-workers, Joshua Morris, William Bradshaw and Tobias Stranover.

In 1720 Strype described Frith Street as 'graced with good Buildings well inhabited, especially towards Golden [sic, recte Soho] Square'.

In the 1730's at about the time of, or shortly before, the realization of the Portland freehold, there was considerable rebuilding on the east side of the street, although not all of it seems to have been directly controlled by Portland building leases. On the west side the rebuilding was less extensive, and it is probable that five houses towards the northern end (Nos. 6064 consec.) still preserve some of the original late seventeenthcentury fabric.

Most of the street south of Bateman Street is shown on the Portland estate map of c. 17923. South of Old Compton Street most of the buildings that are shown have ground-floor plans which indicate the existence of shop fronts. North of Old Compton Street none of the houses on the east side seems to have a recognizable shop front except at corner sites: a few shop fronts are shown on the west side.

By 1850 very few houses in the street were in wholly private occupation. There were a number of ordinary retail tradesmen, and four or five engravers, but the trades most noticeably represented were those of tailor or dressmaker, and of goldsmith, jeweller or watchmaker. In 1900 this last class was still predominant, together with metal-workers, engravers and some other 'craftsmen': the tailors had almost disappeared. An 'advertising contractor' is listed in the street, and had in fact been there since 1869.

The street is now the principal 'entertainment' street in Soho, containing the largest number of restaurants and 'clubs'. It is best seen at night when the glare of neon signs distracts attention from the dilapidated appearance of its buildings. It has been possible to identify eighteen of these as dating, at least in carcase, from the first half of the eighteenth century or earlier. But apart from Nos. 57 and No. 60, the early houses are barely recognizable from the outside, and two,Nos. 29 and 30, have been almost completely rebuilt, leaving wooden staircases of the early eighteenth century curiously embedded in the centre. Judging from the surviving buildings and from the evidence of the Portland estate map, the street was from the first one of modest, narrowfronted buildings having the standard two-room plan, the most notable exceptions being the former Nos. 9, 10 and 5152. Rebuilding of a domestic character was still taking place at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Nos. 4449 were rebuilt, Nos. 4448 with the arcaded second storeys that were also used in refronting the former Nos. 12 and 13. By the beginning of the present century a number of large commercial buildings were being erected, some of them, like No. 89, of very poor quality. The newest building, No. 1113, pays at least some attention to the still domestic scale of the street, its five-storeyed front faced with pinkish-brown brick and containing relatively small square windows.

The rateable value of the houses in the street totalled about 1,780 in 1740, with an average assessment of about 34 for each house. In 1792 the total was about 2,170 and the average about 38. In 1844 the total was about 3,510, and the average had risen to about 54. In 1896 the total was about 5,480 and the average about 96. Very little amalgamation of sites had taken place.

Residents and lodgers in houses in Frith Street which are not described elsewhere included:

Some artists whose addresses are given as being in Frith Street in exhibition catalogues, but whose names do not appear in the ratebooks, are listed below, with the years in which they exhibited:

Text extracted from British History Online, a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a primary focus on the period between 1300 and 1800.
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