However, Henry VIII seized it to be used as a royal park for the Palace of Whitehall in 1536. Then, approximately 125 years later, the monarchy sold Soho Fields to the First Earl of St Albans (Henry Jermyn). He sublet portions of it and the land thus began its development. During this time, some of the other areas were sold off. Land owners built and expanded the area, but it never reached the level of other similar areas, which were in demand by the rich and elite. During the mid-1700's, even those wealthy aristocrats that had lived in the Soho area had moved away.
This abandonment led to the area's complete degradation. It soon became a place where only prostitutes, their customers and theatrical performers working at one of the small theatres would frequent. Immigrants opened up shops and restaurants in the area during the early-1900's. Because these establishments were cheap, they attracted artists that needed a place to think, meet, network and create without the funding to support such a lifestyle. This, in turn, led to the rise of the pub culture, as writers and poets seldom left the area, staying until all hours of the morning and drowning their artistic sorrows. Renowned writer Dylan Thomas was one of these characters.
Today, Soho is characterised by a lively, multicultural destination. It is home to those with money and without, and remains famous for its fantastic array of entertainment.