A Photographic Tour of London’s Fitzrovia in the Late 1980s

We're walking back to the late 1980s, taking in the sights of Fiztrovia in central London


Fitzrovia London


Fitzrovia really does exits. It’s in London, has no formal boundaries, but is accepted as the area between Euston Road to the north, Oxford Street to the south and Great Portland Street to the west.

The name might sound like a fictional principality in an Anthony Hope novel, but since the 1930s, it’s been real – at least it has ever since Tom Driberg (22 May 1905 – 12 August 1976) mentioned it his “William Hickey” gossip column for Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express newspaper.

Driberg, a posho British journalist, politician, High Anglican churchman, friend of occultist Aleister Crowley and gangsters the Kray twins, a possible KGB spy codenamed Lepage, who served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament from 1942 to 1955, and again from 1959 to 1974, and was an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain for more than twenty years, knew the area well.

In the autumn of 1935 he was charged with indecent assault, after an incident in which he had shared his bed with two Scotsmen picked up late one night in bohemian Fitzrovia. Driberg was acquitted, and Beaverbrook’s influence ensured that the case went unreported by the press. Driberg made no secret of his homosexuality, which he practised throughout his life despite its being a criminal offence in Britain until 1967.

The name Fitzrovia came from his local pub, The Fitzroy Tavern, on the corner of Charlotte and Windmill Street, named after Charles FitzRoy (later Baron Southampton), who purchased the Manor of Tottenham Court and built Fitzroy Square, to which he also gave his name. The pub was a haunt of London’s boozers, sex workers, the occasional passing razor gang and literary-journalistic intelligentsia, but as soon as it got too busy the writers decamped to the Wheatsheaf up the road at Rathbone place.

The pictures of Fitzrovia from 1986 to 1990 were taken by Peter Marshall, whose work shows us the London he saw as he walked about the city.


Fitzrovia London

Window, Mortimer St,  1987

Fitzrovia London

Video Shop, Whitfield St, 1987

Fitzrovia London

Tradecars, Warren St, 1990

Fitzrovia London

The Cleveland, Post Office Tower, Cleveland St, 1987

Star Books International, Whitfield St,  1987

Shop, Great Portland St area, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

Fitzrovia London

Restaurant, Hanway St, Fitzrovia, 1987

Fitzrovia London

Rathbone Arts Club, Fitzrovia, 1987

Fitzrovia London

Print shop, 1986

Pie Room, Sign, Newman Passage, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

Fitzrovia London

Pollock’s, Toy Museum, Whitfield St, 1987,

La Vie en Rose, Restaurant, Cleveland St area, 1990,

J Evans, Dairy, Conway St, Warren St, 1990,

J Evans, Dairy, Conway St, Warren St, Fitzrovia, 1985,

Fish Stall, Goodge Place, 1987

Hellenic, Goodge Place, 1987,

Hellenic Restaurant, Fitzrovia, 1986

H Wolfin, Textiles, Great Titchfield St, 1987

Cleveland Street, 1986

Fashion, Langham St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

E E Pither & Sons, Mortimer St,  1987

Cleveland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, Camden, 1987

Cash & Carry, Great Titchfield St area, 1987

Cannon, Cinema, 30, Tottenham Court Rd, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987

Laundry, Window, 1986

137, Whitfield St, 1987

More walks around with Peter Marshall London here.

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