Detective Shaw’s London: West End and Savoy Theatre
In London there is an area that occupies a large part of the City of Westminster and the Borough of Camden Town, and which is simply known by the name of West End (photo of dgmiami, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). This geographical reference derives from its position with respect to the City, the ancient Roman London, with which it borders to the east, so that in the past this had made it the western end of the British capital. Now, however, the West End is in fact a substantial part of the centre of the current London metropolis.
This is a very large area, which includes several places described in previous articles in this series: Marylebone, New Scotland Yard (both old and new), and Leicester Square. But throughout the world, the West End is mostly synonymous with Theatreland, that is, the theatre area, which mainly occupies the neighbourhood of Covent Garden. So much so that the terminology “West End theatre” exists to define the practice of professional theatre in London, which, together with Broadway theatre in New York, represents the pinnacle of global Anglophone commercial theatre.
More generally, the West End is the hub of London entertainment, given the high concentration of theatres, but also cinemas, restaurants and pubs, where you eat, drink, and listen to live music.
West End was also the first name of the British duo Pet Show Boys, who later dedicated the famous song “West End Girls” to this area.
Among the many theatres in the West End is the Savoy Theatre (see photo of the interior of the theatre, taken from WestendTheatre.com), located in Savoy Court, an alley which merges into Strand, the latter is one of the most famous streets in London, which starting from Trafalgar Square reaches the edge of the City. You can get there easily on foot from Charing Cross Tube station or Embankment Tube station.
Today’s Savoy Theatre has the peculiarity of being built below street level, and the hotel of the same name is located above it. Like most London theatres, it develops above all in height, with two circles overlooking the stalls (in total it comprises 1158 seats), reducing the distance between spectators and stage to a minimum, and favouring the enjoyment of the show…