As Centre Point was being built in the early 1960s, a neighbouring side street, only a few hundred yards long, was gaining legendary status as the musical heartbeat of swinging London.
The area to the north-west of Centre Point has been described as London’s Noho – an upmarket companion to neighbouring Soho. While some traditionalists prefer Fitzrovia, it’s worth noting even that name has a relatively recent history, only surfacing in the early part of the 20th century. The inspiration was the pub at its heart – the Fitzroy Tavern – which became a regular haunt for writers including George Orwell, George Bernard Shaw and Dylan Thomas.
When planning permission was granted for Centre Point in August 1959, Cliff Richards’ ‘Living Doll’ was riding high in the charts. By the time the building was completed in the summer of 1966, a newly electric Bob Dylan was facing a hostile crowd across town at the Royal Albert Hall, while The Beatles were singing strange songs about yellow submarines. The intervening years had seen the rise of a new generation, and London was where they congregated.