Rebranding areas has always been popular in the real estate industry, often seen as a fantastic way to turn a previously undesirable location into the new up-and-coming city district.
This has been observed worldwide, from the rebranding of New York’s famous Hell’s Kitchen to Clinton, to London’s own Holborn being dubbed Midtown by many developers. Recently, Fitzrovia has undergone its own renaming campaign with many developers, most notably the Candy Brothers with their ill-fated NoHo Square development, naming the area NoHo. Meaning north of Soho, this recent rebranding is regarded as an attempt to make Fitzrovia ‘the next Soho’. However, this ignores the fact that Fitzrovia has a rich and diverse past of its own.
London has always been a city with a rich tapestry of areas, all with different stories. One of its most famous districts is Fitzrovia. Traditionally a Bohemian part of the city, Fitzrovia has historically been populated by creative individuals. From authors including Robert Louis Stevenson and Virginia Woolf, to musicians such as Boy George and members of the band Coldplay, Fitzrovia has always been a magnet for many of the eccentrics and creatives in society.
Probably named after the famous Fitzroy Tavern or possibly Charles Fitzroy whose surname means ‘son of the king’, haberdashers and rag traders have made this Central London location their home since the 18th Century. This rich history, and links to the creative and fashion industries mean that Fitzrovia is one of the most dynamic parts of the city. It does not need rebranding. Local residents, businesses, and Londoners in general know and love Fitzrovia for its characteristic charm and unique atmosphere.
Here at Robert Irving Burns, Fitzrovia has been our base for over 50 years; we are proud of our area and welcome the new investment which is continuing to improve our home. To marketers’ dismay, changing Fitzrovia’s name has failed. Rebranding only works if the local population are on board and NoHo has no hope.