Little Known London - Clandestine Clara

  • Posted on 15th February 2017 by Guest - Emma

  • The fine roads with the reputable shops have gone and the streets are now filled with pubs, bistros and noise. Even a newcomer to London could sense the difference. The little French and Italian eateries of Soho were becoming the places to go; they were more discreet than the dining rooms of Mayfair and no one questioned with whom you were dining. Lord George, very much outside his natural habitat would still enjoy the frisson of the meeting with his mistress. He would often meet with Clara at one of these low-key restaurants, safe in the knowledge that no one would care.

    Soho turned a blind eye towards the antics of the upper classes and also welcomed the struggling artists and writers who were starting to move in.

    The streets and alleyways of Soho held so many secrets and Clara knew most of them. The atmosphere was vibrant but poor, dangerous but strangely comforting. There was an exotic mix of French, Italian, Greek and Jewish immigrants who made some of the finest clothes, silks and food in London. This was such a refreshing change from the English food; it was fresh and seductive.

    On summer evenings, Soho was sultry with the pubs over spilling onto the narrow streets with men wolf-whistling the French Fifi’s plying their trade in the doorways and alleys. In the winter, it was comforting with lights coming from the hostelries and the sudden burst of laughter when the doors were opened to let someone in or out.

    Here Clara would meet her friends. These were free spirits who protected their freedom vehemently. This was the start of a new century and this spelt change, whether it came naturally or whether they had to force it along a bit.


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