This book reflects Fitzrovia’s distinctive ‘inbetween-ness’, its place just inside central London but apart from Soho and the West End. It was seen as being on the ‘other side’ of Oxford Street by many people, such as the Jewish community living in Soho. The Other Side of Oxford Street tells what happened in Fitzrovia in the crucial years between 1900 and 1950, when the new car industry and the women’s fashion trade swept into Fitzrovia, and the cinema and the BBC landed on its doorstep. At that time, Russian and German anarchists used to argue in its clubs, and Indian revolutionaries practiced at its shooting range in Tottenham Court Road, while popular cafes like Lyons’ were transforming workers’ social lives.
The Other Side is about mixed communities and working-class lives, topical themes when Britain’s relationship with its foreign workers is under close scrutiny. And it’s about multiple identities: Fitzrovia could be viewed in many different ways. We’re hearing ‘the other side’ of the story: the working-class and ‘outsider’ voices that were previously muted.