Everyone is familiar with London’s Piccadilly Circus, but not everyone is aware of the reason behind the existence of this peculiar area, which is famed for the statue of Eros, which is not Eros, and the lit advertising. Due to Piccadilly Circus’s widespread notoriety, even first-time visitors automatically assume they are familiar with the location.
Piccadilly Circus, one of the most famous places in central London
John Nash built Piccadilly Circus in London in 1819 in order to link Regent Route to Piccadilly, which is in fact a lengthy street that leads up to Hyde Park Corner. The purpose of this endeavour was to connect the two streets. Although the term “circus” in this context refers to the circle and not the “circus” as it does elsewhere in the English language, you may find yourself wondering where the name came from given that the square is not truly a circle. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about Piccadilly Circus.
Instead, the name Piccadilly refers to the street of the same name, which was formerly known as Pickadilly Hall (or Piccadilly Hall) due to the fact that a certain Robert Baker lived there. Baker was a tailor who specialised in creating styles of stiff collars that were referred to at the time as piccadills.
One must also differentiate between Piccadilly, the street, and Piccadilly Circus, the well-known square on which the street is located.
When Piccadilly Circus was established, Shaftesbury Avenue did not exist. It was added towards the end of 1800, and the process involved demolishing a portion of the London Pavilion Music Hall, which is now the Trocadero. As a result, the circus, which was initially round, became decidedly more triangular.
The well-known Shaftesbury memorial fountain, which had been constructed in 1893, was relocated to the southwest corner of the circus in the late 1900s and 1800s so that there would be more room for traffic movement. The figure that rests atop the structure is not Eros as is generally thought but rather Anteros, the son of Ares and Aphrodite. This monument is also known as The Angel of Christian Charity. This statue was the very first object of its kind to be crafted from aluminium anywhere in the world. There are some people who are unaware of the fact that, during the Second World War, the fountain was taken out of service and anti-aircraft sirens were installed in its stead.
Piccadilly Circus, the heart of the West End
Until a few decades ago, Piccadilly Circus did not have a particularly good reputation. Due to its strategic location and proximity to Soho, the area served as a gathering place for homosexuals during a time when homosexuality was still illegal (that is, up until 1967). Subsequently, the area served as a gathering place for prostitution and the sale of illegal drugs.
In the most recent decades, it has undergone extensive cleaning and is now ready for use by families. It is considered by many Italian vacationers to be a component of the “tub” that consists of Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square. If you want to get to Piccadilly Circus from Leicester Square, all you have to do is follow Coventry Street and Shaftesbury Avenue until you reach the theatres.
The location of this plaza is one of its most attractive features since it is smack dab in the midst of London’s West End, which is a district in the city’s core region that is home to a number of pubs, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, and other notable places of interest and entertainment. In addition, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy, Westminster, and the commercial districts are all within walking distance from the property. As a result, it has become a popular destination for visitors, families, and even those who live in London.
Other curious things about this nerve center of London
At the beginning of the year 1900, all of the buildings in Piccadilly Circus were decorated with lighted signs. These days, however, only one building, located on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue on the northern side of the square, still has illuminated displays (that of Coca-Cola exists in forms other than the 1954).
Since its opening in 1906, the Piccadilly Circus tube station has served both the Bakerloo Line and the Piccadilly Line. Initially, it served only the Bakerloo Line.
An interesting fact is that the Piccadilly Circus station is one of the very few n the London Undergroundthat is totally subterranean and does not include at least one component that is above ground.
Piccadilly Circus was also the location of the first Chinese restaurant to operate in Europe; it was called the Cathay and it was established in 1908 by a Chinese ship’s chef who had married an English woman. The London Pavillion, which was constructed as a music hall theatre in 1859 and is still standing today in Piccadilly Circus, is one of the most notable buildings in the area. In 1885, it was partially dismantled to make way for the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue, and the same year saw the reopening of the new London Pavillion.
It opened as a movie theatre in 1934 and remained in operation until 1986, when it was permanently shut down. After that, it transitioned into a shopping centre and is currently a component of the Trocadero Centre. Even though it first opened its doors in 1885, the Criterion Theater in Piccadilly Circus is still in operation today as a theatre.
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