Carnaby Street may have slightly lost its edge as soon as Liam Gallagher pitched up to sell £750 parkas, but the streets just west of Regent Street have a rich history of music and fashion that’s still worth celebrating. It was the centre of ‘Swinging London’ in the ’60s – Austin Powers had a flat there, and (real-life) big names from Hendrix and Jagger to Boy George and Lady Gaga have paced Carnaby in search of some sharp new threads.
The area still probably has the highest concentration of pop culture landmarks anywhere in London, and it’s a century this September since Jack Mays and Ernest Cordell kicked off the area’s nightlife scene by opening Murray’s Night Club in Beak Street. So, to celebrate that anniversary, the people who run the Carnaby ‘village’ are putting up 15 new plaques – designed by artist Lucy Harrison – on the sites of the area’s most significant clubs, shops and other venues.
The project is called ‘Carnaby Echoes’, and it comes with a walking tour app and an exhibition on Foubert Street of photos from Carnaby Street’s history, including cool shots of Tom Jones petting a cheetah, The Small Faces buying some horrible-looking red and yellow PVC jackets, and the very fabulous ‘Tina from Ealing’ outside the Batcave goth club in 1984. The exhibition will also host film screenings, listening booths, and odds and ends including vintage clothes and vinyl.
Drop in for free at 20 Foubert’s Place from September 5, and you’ll even be able to pick up a specially-published booklet and a complimentary pair of Carnaby-branded headphones. Find out more about Carnaby Echoes. Groovy, man…