Plaque: Tin Pan Alley
Erection date: 6/4/2013
This street was 'Tin Pan Alley', 1911 - 1992, home of the British publishers and songwriters and their meeting place, The Giaconda.
British Plaque Trust
The plaque carries a QR code that provides smartphone users with audio and visual information on the area’s history, and pictures of the unveiling ceremony, at which Donovan performed his new song 'Tin Pan Alley'.
Site: Tin Pan Alley (1 memorial)
WC2, Denmark Street, 9
The spelling of the cafe's name seems uncertain. The plaque has "Giaconda" as does the shop fascia on Google Street View: "The Giaconda Dining Room". But a splendid Great Wen article has a photo of the old café showing "La Gioconda" both on the fascia and on the projecting sign. The café was probably set up by Italians and in that language “La Gioconda” means “the happy one”, a good name for a café (and also a good, punning, name for an enigmatic portrait of the wife of a 16th century wealthy merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, but we digress). We can find no meaning for “Giaconda” but it does appear on the web quite frequently when “Gioconda” is intended. So we think this is a common mistake that has found its way onto the plaque and the shop fascia.
The Great Wen piece makes it clear that the street is, 2014, at risk. Crossrail arriving at Tottenham Court Road is regenerating the area, or destroying it, depending on your view. The Giaconda Dining Room aimed at a very upmarket clientele but had closed by early 2014, so the area is still in flux.