Capital entertainment: how the West End became the playground of London

The West End was always something a little apart. Some years ago, I used to go drinking with a man who had jointly run one of the best Soho live music clubs of the late 1950s and 1960s. He told me that they received a visit in their early days from the Kray brothers demanding protection money, who were summarily told, in his words, ‘to fuck off’. When I expressed surprise at this apparently dangerous response, he explained that while the twins meant a lot in Bethnal Green at that time, ‘up West’ it was a different story. Rohan McWilliam’s history of the West End explores the reasons for the