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Frank Derrett’s West End

October 13, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my Spitalfields tour throughout October & November




Cranbourne St

Fancy a stroll around the West End with Frank Derrett in the seventies?

This invitation is possible thanks to the foresight of Paul Loften who rescued these photographs from destruction in the last century. Recently, Paul contacted me to ask if I was interested and I suggested he donate them to the archive at the Bishopsgate Institute, which is how I am able to show them today.

‘They were given to me over twenty-five years ago when I called at an apartment block in Camden,’ Paul explained. ‘A woman opened the door and, when said I was from Camden Libraries, she told me a solicitor was dealing with effects of a resident who had died and was about to throw these boxes of slides into a skip, and did I want them? I kept them in my loft, occasionally enjoying a look, but actually I had forgotten about them until we had a clear out upstairs.’

Charing Cross Rd

Bear St

Coventry St

Regent St

Earlham St

Long Acre

Dover St

Carnaby St

Carnaby St

Charing Cross Rd

Cranbourne St

Dover St

Perkins Rents

Great Windmill St

Brook St

Conduit St

Frith St

Drury Lane

Dean St

Garrick St

Great Windmill St

Archer St

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. paul loften permalink
    October 13, 2022

    What a pleasure and surprise to wake up this morning and see these photos once again. This was the London I knew ,occasionally going down “west” to see the Who and Kinks playing at the Marquee in Wardour street or sometimes to the 100 club in Oxford Street.
    Thank you both Gentle author for showing them and also Frank Derret for his painstaking work in taking the photos.
    It was a different world then. I recall once going to a disco in the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaurds Wax Works after we saw a car driving down Oxford street advertising it . I can’t remember if they allowed smoking. I hope they didn’t !
    My work at Camden Libraries was the best job I ever had. I was there for 30 years and loved every moment . I met my wife there who was a librarian and we have 3 children. During the course of doing my job I met so many interesting and famous celebrities and authors who lived in the area as well a s cross section of ordinary working class people and went into their homes and listened to their stories .
    I once met a man who played the violin alongside Albert Einstein in a quartet in pre war Germany. His name was Peter Borenstein . He told me the great joke between them was that Einstein would always start to play at the wrong moment because he simply could not count.

  2. Lizebeth permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Wow, these photos really bring it all back. This is MY neighbourhood. I’m struck by the fact that many of the locations don’t look totally different today — just shows how careful Planning and Conservation can preserve and cherish a neighbourhood. I hope this part of London never changes too much, especially after seeing what some other areas, like Brick Lane, have suffered. Thank you for sharing them.

  3. Cherub permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Great photos, this is the London my elder sister moved to with excitement as a young woman of 20 in 1973, she worked in Bruton Street then Baker Street back then, by the early 80s she’d migrated to working in the City.

    Being 8 years younger I was an 80s arrival in London, my sister used to say it had lost a bit of its sparkle by then.

  4. Annie S permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Gosh, memories of the 70’s!
    I didn’t live in London then but occasionally visited for the day and I remember how the Carnaby Street area looked then – familiar shop names of the era.

    Re the photograph of Brook Street showing the blue plaque noting a former residence of the composer Handel – Jimi Hendrix lived in a small flat in the building next door for a while, around the time of the photos.

  5. Mark permalink
    October 13, 2022

    The London nobody wanted to loose.
    Striking pics.

  6. Val Muttch permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Does anyone remember’Les Enfant Terribles’ a coffee bar in Frith Street? My friend and I would often get a bus to the Embankment and wander through to Soho and have coffee there in the 50’s.

  7. MILO permalink
    October 13, 2022

    I moved down to London in the late 70s and these photos are exactly as i remember it down to the garish colours. The only thing missing is a shot of a ‘Berni Inn’ which seemed to be everywhere around then.

  8. Caryle permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Coming back to London in 1970 after university, living in Islington and working in Regent st really remember that time with so much energy – I worked with Mrs H who had a flat in Berwick st, ate at Jimmy’s a Greek restaurant in soho and ‘real’ Chinese restaurants, wandered the streets of the west end at lunchtime – peter jones, libertys and street markets. My cousin had a record shop in Berwick st.
    Now I teach london history at Morley College Waterloo and would you believe it I’m teaching a short course on Soho after Christmas. http://Www.morley W22HMSH06A. If you’re interested in a light hearted approach to social history ( I’ve been told my sessions are like a book group but unfortunately without the wine) have a look!

  9. Esther Wilkinson Rank permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Thank you, Paul Loften, for saving them!

  10. Terri Hartsock permalink
    October 13, 2022

    I remember Trattoria da Otello on Dean Street! My first visit to London in 1971 (age 16), my sister took me there. Great food. I still have their business card.

  11. Richard permalink
    October 15, 2022

    Thanks for these great shots. So much more colour then. Remember those Golden Egg restaurants

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