The French House in Dean Street Soho, was formally known as the York Minster, opened in 1820s. The first Landlord was Thomas Dinsdale, who plied his trade there for over twenty years.
During WW2 the pub under the stewardship of Mr Victor Berlemont became a meeting place for the Free French. Charles de Gaulle was a regular visitor and wrote several of his speeches to the enslaved French nation there. The York Minster was demolished shortly after the Second World War, and the current building erected. in its place.
Today, the French House is said to serve more Pastis than anywhere else in the UK.
Soho is a really fascinating area to walk around, some parts still retain their seedy appearance, but scratch the surface and there’s a fantastic depth of history beneath the gaudiness. I wrote a piece about the nearby Greek Street over the space of a couple of hundred years. You can find it here Greek Street, then and now .
However, Soho has not always been the centre of the seedier side of London Life. During the two World Wars neighbouring Fitzrovia held that dubious accolade, I haven’t written a tour concentrating on Soho itself, although some A London Miscellany Tours do take in the area and its something I shall try to do when time allows, but in the meantime there is a guided walking tour of the area of Fitzrovia that sits on the opposite side of Tottenham Court Road call Beyond The Fringe.