Last sex shop looks set to be bar in ‘victory against sleaze’

Soho Books, in Caledonian Road

Soho Books, in Caledonian Road - Credit: Archant

The final bulb in King’s Cross’s red light district could go out tonight as a plan to change a sex shop into a trendy bar goes before the town hall.

Soho Books, said to be the last visible adult establishment in Caledonian Road, could have sold its last sex tape now the owners have applied to an Islington Council planning committee to change the use from retail to a restaurant or drinking establishment.

For many year’s King’s Cross was well known for its sex industry and late-night clubbing, but with the arrival of the Eurostar and a £2billion regeneration of the station and surrounding area, the process of gentrification has gathered pace.

If the application goes through, Cllr Paul Convery, who represents Caledonian Ward, said it would be a “decisive victory in the battle against sleaze”.

He said: “This is very significant – this is the last visible sex business on the Caledonian Road. There are a couple of subterranean establishments, sex encounter and blue movie sorts of places, but they are hidden and will be out of business soon.

“When I moved to the area 16 years ago there were at least six places openly advertising – everybody knew what was going on. If Soho Books closes, that will be the end of that – at least for this side of the borough boundary [with Camden].”


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Cllr Convery said it hasn’t been an easy process. “These things take a lot of time,” he said. “King’s Cross was a down-at-the-heel, slightly seedy place a few years ago. Some of the back streets were distinctly unsavoury.

“Now it’s a modern and revitalised neighbourhood. We have raided, closed down and regulated these business out of existence. I wouldn’t say the war is won, by this could be yet another decisive victory in the battle against sleaze, vice and pornography in King’s Cross.”