An ingenious redevelopment scheme just started in the heart of London's Soho will give this celebrated neighbourhood a new church, an enlarged headquarters and exhibition space for the Soho Society, flats, shops, offices and an underground car park. It will repair a section of missing Soho townscape, and may also help to solve the 183-year-old mystery of the death of a cousin of Pitt the Younger.
The church is a long overdue replacement for the seventeenth- century St. Anne's Soho, destroyed during the Second World War. All that survived was a fine and idiosyncratic replacement tower of 1804 by S.P. Cockerell which has until recently been the headquarters of the Soho Society and repository of their extensive archive. This third attempt at redevelopment of the site rests on a special Act of Parliament, extensive negotiations with different departments of Westminster City Council (one wanting a car park, the other not), and a complex, five-headed development partnership.