Spirit of Soho Mural

Erection date: 1991


{On a nearby steel information panel:}
The Spirit of Soho mural was created by the Soho community and completed in 1991. It shows Soho life and is dedicated to the people of Soho. The mural depicts St Anne presiding over local notables; her skirt and petticoats show the map of Soho, craftsmen and London landmarks. Framed underneath are the portraits of Soho's many famous figures. Dogs and hares are interspersed which represent a time when Soho was a Royal hunting ground.

Restored in 2006 by Shaftesbury PLC and The Soho Society, the clock was re-activated by The Lord Mayor of Westminster 19th October 2006. Don't miss: When the clock strikes on the hour: watch actress and opera singer Theresa Cornelys winks at Casanova, Casanova blows a series of kisses to Cornelys and Karl Marx takes a sip of Coca Cola.

{A key to the characters depicted consists of a numbered graphic with each portrait in simple outline plus a numbered list of names.}

Interesting that Coca Cola are specifically mentioned on the panel but not as a sponsor. The hourly entertainment provided by the clockwork mechanism is subtle, even minimal - Fortnum and Masons this ain't.

The spelling of some of the personage's names in the key is a little off: we've assumed that Edmund Keene refers to Edmund Kean.

Site: Spirit of Soho Mural (1 memorial)

W1, Broadwick Street

The flame-haired St Anne holds out her skirt on which is depicted a map of Soho. Crowded below her lacey, fruity hem are some of the famous characters connected with the area. To left and right are six scenes representing a film animator in his studio (possibly Bob Godfrey), the fashion trades, food and international restaurants (pictured), the Palladium, Carnaby Street and Ronnie Scott's.

A green border at the bottom carries little pictures of, left to right:
Soho parish school
a dog and hare standing on a Union Jack
a Willow Pattern dish
Soho Street Theatre - presented by Alternative Arts

In the frame, along the bottom edge, blue plaques, reading, left to right:
BSI, Business Sponsorship Incentive Scheme
Sponsored by City of Westminster
Goldsmiths & silversmiths
Jewellers & clockmakers
Furniture & woodworkers
Science & medicine
Commissioned & sponsored by Wereldhave
FreeForm 1991. Designed & made by Freeform Arts Trust Ltd

2020: Dominic Delargy has drawn our attention to Soho Bites which has podcasts about (at our last count) 15 of the people on the mural. One of those podcasts raised the question: Verlaine but not Rimbaud?

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Spirit of Soho Mural

Subjects commemorated i

Henry Angelo

Fencing master. Born St James's Place, Piccadilly. Briefly took over his fath...

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John Logie Baird

Born in "The Lodge" in Helensburgh, near Glasgow. Inventor of mechanical tele...

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Mrs Bateman

We initially identified the Mrs Bateman on the mural as the wife of Sidney Fr...

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William Beckford, Alderman

Lord Mayor of London 1762 and 1769. Born Jamaica. Inherited a fortune from th...

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Brendan Behan

Poet, writer, playwright. Born Dublin. Irish republican and, aged 16 - 23, vo...

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Show all 55

This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Spirit of Soho Mural

Created by i

Freeform Arts Trust

Free Form is unique in providing the full range of arts and creative services...

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A leading independent property company with an internationally diversified re...

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Westminster City Council

The ancient parish of St Margaret's was divided into St Margaret's and St Joh...

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