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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The first documented brothel in Soho was here.
Location: 21 Soho Square, Soho
Description: This super building in Soho was originally built in the 1670's and occupied once owned by Sir Rowland Winn, the fourth baronet, of Nostell Priory, Yorkshire.
Then it was a Spanish Embassy until 1778 when it was bought by Thomas Hooper, who was said to have become 'notorious in the annals of Fashion' as 'the infamous White House'.
Except it wasn't a hotel it was one of the first brothels in Soho offering rooms for heterosexual pleasure.
The reception rooms of the house at this time were garishly decorated; three were known from their fittings as the 'Gold', 'Silver' and 'Bronze' rooms, the walls being all inlaid with mirrored panels; there was also the 'Painted Chamber', the 'Groto', the 'Coal Hole' and the 'Skeleton Room' where, for the delectation of the patrons, a skeleton could be made to step out of a closet with the aid of machinery.
Hooper's Hotel remained for at least 25 years, and the building was eventually rebuilt in 1840 by the new owners when it was altered or rebuilt for Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell. It's thought that the Portland stone frontage was added in 1927. Cross and Blackwell, the food company producer of jams, pickles and other canned goods, also had a factory in the rear of the premises - where the Astoria once was.