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Compton Street

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Compton Street
Compton Street

Over history the entity which was Compton Street has had a varied functionality. To start with it was an anonymous route for farmers and livestock but quickly developed into an important thoroughfare, it was rapidly built up between 1677 - 1683 when Soho was burgeoning both in size and fame. The first residents of Compton Street were very well-to-do: Dukes, Earls and Barons rubbed shoulders with Charles II’s personal physician and foreign princesses. Over the next years the nobs had moved out to be replaced by no-less illustrious residents many of whom arrived in the country when Louis XIV was setting about persecuting the Huguenots. Hundreds of French Protestants fled their homeland for the asylum offered by the English King and settled here colonising Compton Street. The descendents of these settlers were still here two centuries later as parish records for 1893 tell us that there were weekly sermons conducted in French on the corner of Wardour Street. In the early years of Compton Street, John Strype the historian and diarist reported: “This street is broad but of no great Account for its inhabitants which are chiefly French.” It appears that magnanimity was not in Strype’s dictionary.

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