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Welcome to Carnaby Street
As soon as you enter Carnaby Street you will be greeted with the world-famous iconic arch welcoming you to this ‘shop till you drop’ world.
So take a stroll up and down Carnaby Street. Check out Kingly Court and Newburgh Quarter. Don’t skip the small side alleys either because every inch of the space here is occupied with unique and fashionable stores. Fancy vintage clothing – check; looking for vinyl – check; footwear, cosmetics, pottery, tea and coffee, offbeat boutiques, or one of the kind type of establishments – you will have plenty of choices. All of them are so quintessentially British.
When I mention Carnaby Street, you might summon the music culture of the 1960’s. Does the ‘Swinging Sixties’ ring the bell? How about ‘Swinging London’? It was not just about the music. Sure, the United States was being taken by the British Invasion of rock and pop music bands – the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones. It was a cultural revolution that emphasized innovation and fun-loving hedonism. It was a time of flourishing art, and booming fashion as well.
And, Carnaby Street was a popular shopping destination – John Stephen, called ‘the King of Carnaby Street’, was responsible for designing the iconic sharp suits for the 1960’s Mods.
His clothes were worn by members of the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks.
History of Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street has an interesting history. Its name is derived from a building that once stood on the eastern side of the street called Karnaby House, which was built by Richard Tyler in about 1682. You can still find a few original buildings in the area even now. Check out 17 Newburgh Street, 10-12 Ganton Street and 7-8 Kingly Street.
Have you heard about pesthouses? Pesthouses were built for plague victims and the first one built in London was located on Carnaby Street. And since we are covering the subject of plagues now, take a 3-minute walk to Broadwick Street. Here, in 1854, epidemiologist John Snow, identified a contaminated water pump which was the cause of the outbreak of cholera and closed it off.
So enough of these the trips down Memory Lane for now. It is time to toddle for some British grub now. I found a heart-warming restaurant for you. It is based just off Carnaby Street on Ganton Street. It is called Mother Mash and its raison d’etre is the potato, served in a fluffed form. But, it also does a mean banger.
I know, I know—the spud is not much to look at, but in the hands of Mother Mash it becomes the ultimate feel-good food.
The hardest thing about this place is deciding what type of mash to go with. You can choose from six different flavors of mash.
After you settle on the flavor, you need to deliberate between eight types of bangers—aka sausages.
You are not done yet. Select one of their amazing gravies now – you have five different choices.
Don’t want the bangers? How about six choices of pies?
My daughter had champ mash which was a traditional Irish mash with milk, butter, cheddar cheese and spring onions. She selected smoky and cumberland bangers and topped it with classic gravy, which is a simple gravy made using the juice from sausages and vegetables.
I ended up with classic mash, which was a natural mash with milk and butter. I selected oxford and smithfield 1862 bangers and added farmer’s gravy, which is made out of red wine, onion, smoked bacon and mushrooms.
For desert we shared a freshly-baked apple pie with vanilla ice cream. All delicious and highly recommended. Don’t miss it.