No. 170 to 178
and 194 to 199
The BAZAAR in Soho Square was the brainchild of
John Trotter and first opened in February 1816.
The bazaar, 'a well known oriental term for a kind of fixed fair or market', (ref. 63) was to be, so Trotter claimed, an institution 'founded on . . . benevolent and patriotic principles' and not a gratuitous charity. Through its offices 'the industrious . . . may hope to thrive; reduced tradesmen may recover and retain their connexions; beginners may form friends, connexions, and habits, before they encounter more extensive speculations; and artists, artizans, and whole families, employed at home, although infirm or in the country, may securely vend their labour to advantage by proxy'From: 'Soho Square Area: Portland Estate: Nos. 4-6 Soho Square', Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34: St Anne Soho (1966), pp. 57-59.
The interior of the disused warehouse was laid out with stalls and counters arranged on two floors of the building in the manner of a closed market. The vendors hired their selling spaces by the day and there were stringent rules for the conduct of business, but everything was conducted on the 'fairest and most liberal plan'. The goods sold consisted chiefly of millinery, gloves, lace, jewellery and potted plants. From: 'Soho Square Area: Portland Estate: Nos. 4-6 Soho Square', Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34: St Anne Soho (1966), pp. 57-59.
The interior layout of the bazaar was described in considerable detail by the Reverend Joseph Nightingale in his pamphlet The Bazaar, published in May 1816 to advertise this novel institution. The ground floor was occupied by one large room hung with red cloth and large mirrors and solidly furnished with mahogany counters; two of the back rooms, called the grotto and the parterre, were both decorated with climbing plants; there was a kitchen providing meals for the vendors, with 'a stove of a peculiar construction sending forth two distinct columns of heat' to warm the rooms. Another feature of the establishment, and that an unexpectedly modern one for an early nineteenth-century shop, was a ladies' dressing-room.
From: 'Soho Square Area: Portland Estate: Nos. 4-6 Soho Square', Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34: St Anne Soho (1966), pp. 57-59.