At the heart of the great metropolis lies an island, a foreign land in a sea of Englishness. After the wealthy and gentry departed Soho in the middle of the 18th century, successive waves of refugees arrived creating a multi-cultural world that attracted artists, revolutionaries, writers and musicians. The atmosphere has encouraged individuality, creativity and entrepreneurship. It has been somewhere to take risks, including in health care. It was here that the first hospitals in London for women, for ear diseases and for men with venereal disease were established. It was also where the first and most famous private anatomy school was built. The contrast between bohemian Soho and establishment London is well illustrated by two towering figures in the history of health care, Mary Seacole, who you will encounter at the start, and Florence Nightingale, who you will meet at the end of the walk, in St James's.
This walk is based on one of seven walks in Walking London's Medical History:
Crimean War Memorial, Leicester Square
This tour starts at the exit of Tottenham Court Road underground station (Oxford Street exit).
Places to stop along the way:
There are many restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from along the route.
Best time of day:
Any time of day
As in any major city, take care crossing roads and look after your belongings.
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