Soho is a remarkable square mile with a remarkable history.
An established residential district from the end of the seventeenth century, Soho has counted among its residents Karl Marx, Casanova, Canaletto, William Blake, Isaac Newton, Dr Johnson and the composers, Haydn and Mozart.
More recently, in 1972, the Soho Society was established to make Soho a better place in which to live, work or visit. Within a few months the Society gained consultative status with Westminster City Council on all planning, licensing, traffic and environmental matters. Soon after, the Society persuaded Westminster City Council to create the Soho Conservation Area - thus protecting existing housing and businesses from demolition. Members of the Soho Society were instrumental in the establishment of the Soho Housing Association which provides some 800 social and discounted homes for families and others with a connection to Soho.
The charity's purposes are set out in the objects contained in the company's memorandum of association. They are:
- To promote the further environmental improvement of Soho by encouraging high standards of planning, architecture, and licensing; and
- To educate the public in the geography, history, natural history and architecture of the area; and
- To secure the preservation protection development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in the area.
We retain a formal consultative role to Westminster City Council in relation to all planning and licensing applications in Soho. We coordinate and represent the views of residents and businesses in our community. We provide advice in individual cases; participate in particular issues and campaigns; and draw together and share information and opinion about events and issues in Soho through our various communication channels —a magazine, a monthly e-newsletter, social media, and a weekly radio programme. We also organise a number of activities that support community cohesion, such as an annual Fete, and a programme of support for the elderly.
We are a volunteer led organisation and always welcome new volunteers to help with our various projects.