Regent Street is the most fashionable street of shops in London. The general westward movement in our great cities is perhaps accounted for by the prevailing winds keeping the West End more free from smoke. Be that as it may, the shops which supply the wealthier class of customers have necessarily followed them, first along the Strand, then to Piccadilly and Regent Street, where everything is to be had of the very best, but at the highest prices. Our view is taken from near the top of the Quadrant, looking north towards Oxford Circus. The Quadrant was once furnished with a colonnade reaching to the edge of the pavement, but this has been removed for many years. Ladies especially patronise this fine street, those who cannot afford to shop here flocking to it to see what is sold in the best West End houses.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896