It's been a hot spot for sex shops, gay clubbing and posh restaurants, but Soho might owe its weird name to another, older London pastime.
‘The origin is uncertain,’ says Hazel Forsyth, senior curator at the Museum of London, ‘but according to popular mythology, “so-ho!” or “so-hoe!” was originally the cry of the huntsman.’Hundreds of years ago, the area now covered by Soho was uninhabited land, and a popular hunting spot for the capital’s great and good. In a 1563 account, historian John Stow describes how the Lord Mayor and his hunting party caught a hare, ate it for dinner at the chamberlain’s banqueting house then went back out to chase a fox just for fun.
There is another Soho, of course. But New York’s SoHo is boringly named after its location in Manhattan, south of Houston Street. Would they have chosen that particular name if ours hadn’t existed already? I think not. Copycats.
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