Piccadilly Circus
Overview
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction
Junction (road)
A road junction is a location where vehicular traffic going in different directions can proceed in a controlled manner designed to minimize accidents. In some cases, vehicles can change between different routes or directions of travel.-Origins:...

 and public space of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

 in the City of Westminster
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is a London borough occupying much of the central area of London, England, including most of the West End. It is located to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary...

, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street
Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations...

 with the major shopping street of Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning "circle", is a round open space at a street junction.
Piccadilly now links directly to the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in central London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus....

, as well as the Haymarket
The Haymarket
Haymarket is a street in the St. James's district of the City of Westminster, London. It runs from Piccadilly Circus at the north to Pall Mall at the south...

, Coventry Street
Coventry Street
Coventry Street is a short London street, within the City of Westminster, running from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square. The street is the main conduit between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square and at the weekend up to 150,000 people walk from one to another along the street...

 (onwards to Leicester Square
Leicester Square
Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west...

), and Glasshouse Street. The Circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in the West End.
Encyclopedia
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction
Junction (road)
A road junction is a location where vehicular traffic going in different directions can proceed in a controlled manner designed to minimize accidents. In some cases, vehicles can change between different routes or directions of travel.-Origins:...

 and public space of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

 in the City of Westminster
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is a London borough occupying much of the central area of London, England, including most of the West End. It is located to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary...

, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street
Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations...

 with the major shopping street of Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning "circle", is a round open space at a street junction.
Piccadilly now links directly to the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in central London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus....

, as well as the Haymarket
The Haymarket
Haymarket is a street in the St. James's district of the City of Westminster, London. It runs from Piccadilly Circus at the north to Pall Mall at the south...

, Coventry Street
Coventry Street
Coventry Street is a short London street, within the City of Westminster, running from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square. The street is the main conduit between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square and at the weekend up to 150,000 people walk from one to another along the street...

 (onwards to Leicester Square
Leicester Square
Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west...

), and Glasshouse Street. The Circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in the West End. Its status as a major traffic intersection has made Piccadilly Circus a busy meeting place and a tourist attraction in its own right. The Circus is particularly known for its video display and neon
Neon lighting
Neon lighting is created by brightly glowing, electrified glass tubes or bulbs that contain rarefied neon or other gases. Georges Claude, a French engineer and inventor, presented neon tube lighting in essentially its modern form at the Paris Motor Show from December 3–18, 1910...

 signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue of an archer popularly known as Eros (sometimes called The Angel of Christian Charity, but intended to be Anteros
Anteros
In Greek mythology, Anteros was the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or "counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love....

). It is surrounded by several noted buildings, including the London Pavilion
London Pavilion
The London Pavilion is a building located on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street on the north-east side of, and facing, Piccadilly Circus in London...

 and Criterion Theatre
Criterion Theatre
The Criterion Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Piccadilly Circus in the City of Westminster, and is a Grade II* listed building. It has an official capacity of 588.-Building the theatre:...

. Directly underneath the plaza is Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station is the London Underground station located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner...

, part of the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 metro system.

History


Piccadilly Circus connects to Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

, a thoroughfare whose name first appeared in 1626 as Pickadilly Hall, named after a house belonging to one Robert Baker, a tailor famous for selling piccadill
Piccadill
A piccadill or pickadill is a large broad collar of cut-work lace that became fashionable in the late 16th century and early 17th century.The term may originate from a conjectured Spanish word picadillo, from picado meaning punctured or pierced...

s, or piccadillies, a term used for various kinds of collar
Collar (clothing)
In clothing, a collar is the part of a shirt, dress, coat or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or...

s. The street was known as Portugal Street in 1692 in honour of Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

, the queen consort
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 of King Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 but was known as Piccadilly by 1743. Piccadilly Circus was created in 1819, at the junction with Regent Street
Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations...

, which was then being built under the planning of John Nash
John Nash (architect)
John Nash was a British architect responsible for much of the layout of Regency London.-Biography:Born in Lambeth, London, the son of a Welsh millwright, Nash trained with the architect Sir Robert Taylor. He established his own practice in 1777, but his career was initially unsuccessful and...

 on the site of a house and garden belonging to a Lady Hutton. The circus lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.

The junction has been a very busy traffic interchange since construction, as it lies at the centre of Theatreland and handles exit traffic from Piccadilly, which Charles Dickens, Jr
Charles Dickens, Jr
Charles Dickens, Jr, born Charles Culliford Boz Dickens , was the first child of the novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine. A failed businessman, he became the editor of his father's magazine All the Year Round, and a successful writer of dictionaries...

 (Charles C. B. Dickens, son of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

) described in 1879: "Piccadilly, the great thoroughfare leading from the Haymarket and Regent-street
Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations...

 westward to Hyde Park-corner
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner is a place in London, at the south-east corner of Hyde Park. It is a major intersection where Park Lane, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Grosvenor Place and Constitution Hill converge...

, is the nearest approach to the Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

ian boulevard of which London can boast."

The Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station is the London Underground station located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner...

 was opened 10 March 1906, on the Bakerloo Line, and on the Piccadilly Line
Piccadilly Line
The Piccadilly line is a line of the London Underground, coloured dark blue on the Tube map. It is the fifth busiest line on the Underground network judged by the number of passengers transported per year. It is mainly a deep-level line, running from the north to the west of London via Zone 1, with...

 in December of that year. In 1928, the station was extensively rebuilt to handle an increase in traffic.

The intersection's first electric advertisements appeared in 1910, and, from 1923, electric billboards were set up on the facade of the London Pavilion
London Pavilion
The London Pavilion is a building located on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street on the north-east side of, and facing, Piccadilly Circus in London...

. Traffic lights were first installed on 3 August 1926, at the junction.

At the start of the 1960s, it was determined that the Circus needed to be redeveloped to allow for greater traffic flow. In 1962, Lord Holford presented a plan which would have created a "double-decker" Piccadilly Circus; the upper deck would have been an elevated pedestrian concourse linking the buildings around the perimeter of the Circus, with the lower deck being solely for traffic, most of the ground-level pedestrian areas having been removed to allow for greater vehicle flow. This concept was kept alive throughout the rest of the 1960s. A final scheme in 1972 proposed three octagonal towers (the highest 240 feet (73.2 m) tall) to replace the Trocadero, the Criterion and the "Monico" buildings. The plans were permanently rejected by Sir Keith Joseph and Ernest Marples
Ernest Marples
Alfred Ernest Marples, Baron Marples PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Postmaster General and Minister of Transport. After his retirement from active politics in 1974 Marples was elevated to the peerage...

; the key reason given was that Holford's scheme only allowed for a 20% increase in traffic, and the Government required 50%.

The Holford plan is referenced in the short-form documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 "Goodbye, Piccadilly", produced by the Rank Organisation
Rank Organisation
The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment company formed during 1937 and absorbed in 1996 by The Rank Group Plc. It was the largest and most vertically-integrated film company in Britain, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities....

 in 1967 when it was still seriously expected that Holford's recommendations would be acted upon. Piccadilly Circus has since escaped major redevelopment, apart from extensive ground-level pedestrianisation around its south side in the 1980s.

The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus was erected in 1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. During the Second World War, the statue atop the Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury is a town in Dorset, England, situated on the A30 road near the Wiltshire border 20 miles west of Salisbury. The town is built 718 feet above sea level on the side of a chalk and greensand hill, which is part of Cranborne Chase, the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset...

 Memorial Fountain was removed and was replaced by advertising hoardings. It was returned in 1948. When the Circus underwent reconstruction work in the late 1980s, the entire fountain was moved from the centre of the junction at the beginning of Shaftesbury Avenue to its present position at the southwestern corner.

Location and sights

Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by several major tourist attractions, including the Shaftesbury Memorial, Criterion Theatre
Criterion Theatre
The Criterion Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Piccadilly Circus in the City of Westminster, and is a Grade II* listed building. It has an official capacity of 588.-Building the theatre:...

, London Pavilion and several major retail stores. Numerous nightclubs and bars are located in the area and neighbouring Soho
Soho
Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable...

, including the former Chinawhite
Chinawhite (nightclub)
Chinawhite is a high profile nightclub in central London. It is a regular haunt of many of the best known celebrities in the tabloids in the United Kingdom...

 club.

Illuminated signs

Piccadilly Circus used to be surrounded by illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, starting in the early 1900s, but only one building now carries them, the one in the northwestern corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Glasshouse Street. The site is unnamed (usually referred to as "Monico" after the Café Monico, which used to be on the site); its addresses are 44/48 Regent Street, 1/6 Sherwood Street, 17/22 Denman Street and 1/17 Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in central London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus....

, and it has been owned by property investor Land Securities Group
Land Securities Group
Land Securities Group plc is the largest commercial property company in the UK and the leading British property development and investment company headquartered in central London. The firm switched to Real Estate Investment Trust status when REITs were introduced in the United Kingdom in January...

 since the 1970s.

The earliest signs used incandescent light bulb
Incandescent light bulb
The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

s; these were replaced with neon lights, as well as moving signs (there was a large Guinness
Guinness
Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost...

 clock at one time).The very first Neon sign was for the British meat extract Bovril
Bovril
Bovril is the trademarked name of a thick, salty meat extract, developed in the 1870s by John Lawson Johnston and sold in a distinctive, bulbous jar. It is made in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, owned and distributed by Unilever UK....

. From December 1998, digital projectors were briefly used for the Coke sign, while the 2000s saw a gradual move to LED
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

 displays, completely replacing neon lamps by 2011. The number of signs has reduced over the years as the rental costs have increased.

As of 2011, the site has six illuminated advertising screens above three large retail units facing Piccadilly Circus on the north side, occupied by Boots, GAP
Gap (clothing retailer)
The Gap, Inc. is an American clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. The company has five primary brands: the namesake Gap banner, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. As of September 2008,...

 and a mix of smaller retail, restaurant and office premises fronting the other streets. A Burger King
Burger King
Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain...

 located under the Samsung advert, which had been previously a Wimpy Bar until 1989, closed in early 2008 and has now been converted into a Barclays Bank.

Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

has had a sign at Piccadilly Circus since 1955. The current placed sign dates from September 2003, when the previous digital projector board and the site formerly occupied by Nescafé
Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

 was replaced with a state-of-the-art LED
LEd
LEd is a TeX/LaTeX editing software working under Microsoft Windows. It is a freeware product....

 video display that curves round with the building. Before Nescafé, a neon advertisement for Foster's
Foster's Lager
Foster's Lager is an internationally distributed Australian brand of 5.0% abv pale lager, It is a product of Foster's Group brewed under licence in several countries, including the U.S. and Russia...

 occupied the spot until roughly 1999. Before Foster's, Philips electronics
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 occupied that spot. On 23 November 2007, the very first film was broadcast through the board. Paul Atherton
Paul Atherton
Paul Atherton is managing director of and its sister not-for-profit company, . He is the first producer/ director to have his work broadcast on the Coca-Cola billboard in Piccadilly Circus, London with his film The Ballet of Change....

's film The Ballet of Change: Piccadilly Circus
The Ballet of Change: Piccadilly Circus
The Ballet of Change is a series of four films , each one about a world famous landmark in London - London Bridge, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Each film tells the history of its location using imagery and music...

was allowed five minutes to show the first non-commercial film depicting the history of Piccadilly Circus and the lights. The former, for several months in 2002, replacing the Nescafé sign, was a sign featuring the quote "Imagine all the people living life in peace" by Beatle
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

. This was paid for by his widow Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

, who spent an estimated £150,000 to display an advert at this location.

Sanyo
Sanyo
is a major electronics company and member of the Fortune 500 whose headquarters is located in Moriguchi, Osaka prefecture, Japan. Sanyo targets the middle of the market and has over 230 Subsidiaries and Affiliates....

's
sign is the oldest out of the six, having been installed in 1987 and remaining unchanged ever since. However, earlier Sanyo signs with older logos have occupied that position since 1978 (although these were only half the size of Sanyo's current sign). Since 2010 it has been the only sign left to still be run by traditional neon lights, rather than a computerised screen. In February 2011 Sanyo announced that they will not be renewing their contract for the site, feeling upgrading to LED was not economically viable. Hyundai Motors will take their place from autumn 2011.

TDK
TDK
, formerly , is a Japanese company which manufactures electronic materials, electronic components, and recording and data-storage media, and markets them globally. Their motto is "Contribute to culture and industry through creativity"...

replaced the space formerly occupied by Kodak in 1990. The original neon sign remained almost unchanged for twenty years, although in 2001, the colour of the background lamps were changed from green to blue, and the words "Audio & Video Tape" and "Floppy Disks" under the logo were removed. In 2010 it was changed to an LED screen. The same space has been previously used by Fujifilm
Fujifilm
is a multinational photography and imaging company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.Fujifilm's principal activities are the development, production, sale and servicing of color photographic film, digital cameras, photofinishing equipment, color paper, photofinishing chemicals, medical imaging...

 and BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

.

McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

added a sign in 1986, replacing one for BASF
BASF
BASF SE is the largest chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Germany. BASF originally stood for Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik . Today, the four letters are a registered trademark and the company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, and Zurich Stock...

. In 2001, the sign was changed from neon to an animated LED screen, which was further changed to a bigger, brighter LED screen in 2008.

Samsung
Samsung
The Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea...

replaced a sign for Panasonic
Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

 in November 1994, and the sign was changed from neon to LED in 2005. Before Panasonic, Canon occupied that spot.

Piccadilly Lite was added on 3 December 2007, placed under the Samsung and McDonald's signs. This is a LED screen that allows other companies to advertise for both short- and long-term leases, increasing the amount of advertising space but using the same screen for multiple brands. It replaced Budweiser
Budweiser
Budweiser is a German adjective describing something or someone from the city of České Budějovice in Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic.Beer brewing in České Budějovice dates back to the 13th century...

. Before Budweiser, Carlsberg and JVC
JVC
, usually referred to as JVC, is a Japanese international consumer and professional electronics corporation based in Yokohama, Japan which was founded in 1927...

 owned the spot.

LG
LG Group
LG Corp. is the second-largest South Korean conglomerate company following Samsung, and it is headquartered in the LG Twin Towers in Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. LG produces electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products and operates subsidiaries like LG Electronics, LG Display,...

were added as of February 2007 on the roof of Coventry House, which diagonally faces Piccadilly Circus. Their sign is a large LED video advertising display for LGE, the British arm of the South Korean electronics group. The new display also incorporates a scrolling ticker
News ticker
A news ticker resides in the lower third of the television screen space on television news networks dedicated to presenting headlines or minor pieces of news. It may also refer to a long, thin scoreboard-style display seen around the front of some offices or public buildings...

 of Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

 headlines. Before LG, Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone Group Plc is a global telecommunications company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world's second-largest measured by subscribers , with around 341 million proportionate subscribers as of...

 had a neon sign installed on that spot, which displayed both their logo and personal messages that could be submitted on a special website and displayed at a certain time and date.

On special occasions the lights are switched off, such as the deaths of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in 1965 and Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

 in 1997. On 21 June 2007, they were switched off for one hour as part of the Lights Out London campaign.

Other companies and brands that had previously had signs on the site were Guinness
Guinness
Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost...

, Max Factor
Max Factor
Max Factor & Company is a cosmetics company, founded during 1909 by Maksymilian Faktorowicz , Max Factor, a Polish-Jewish cosmetician. Max Factor & Company was a related, two-family, multi-generational international cosmetics company before its sale in 1973 for $500 million dollars...

, Wrigley's Spearmint
Wrigley's Spearmint
Wrigley's Spearmint is a brand of Wrigley's chewing gum. Wrigley's launched the brand in 1893 and markets the gum as its classic brand, although the company's brand Juicy Fruit has been on the market slightly longer...

, Skol
Skol
Skol was initially created to be a global beer brand. Allied Breweries , Labatt , Pripps-Bryggerierna and Unibra formed a new company called Skol International in 1964. Its aim was the creation of a world-wide beer brand, Skol, which could be licensed, manufactured and marketed across the world...

, Air India
Air India
Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government of India owned Air India Limited . The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman...

 and Gold Flake
Gold Flake
thumb|Bottom of Gold Flake Kings boxGold Flake is a widely-sold cigarette brand in India and Pakistan. It is sold in various varieties, including Gold Flake Kings , Gold Flake Kings Lights , Gold Flake and Gold Flake Lights. It is a well-positioned brand in India...

 (as Will's Gold Flake Cigarettes).

Shaftesbury Memorial and the Statue of Eros

At the southwestern side of the Circus, moved after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 from its original position in the centre, stands the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain, erected in 1892-1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury, who was a famous Victorian politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

.

The monument is topped by Alfred Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert
Sir Alfred Gilbert was an English sculptor and goldsmith who enthusiastically experimented with metallurgical innovations...

's winged nude statue of an archer, sometimes referred to as The Angel of Christian Charity and popularly known as Eros after the mythical Greek god of love. The statue has become a London icon: a graphical illustration of it is used as the symbol of the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

 and appears on its masthead.

The use of a nude figure on a public monument was controversial at the time of its construction, but it was generally well received by the public. The Magazine of Art described it as "...a striking contrast to the dull ugliness of the generality of our street sculpture, ... a work which, while beautifying one of our hitherto desolate open spaces, should do much towards the elevation of public taste in the direction of decorative sculpture, and serve freedom for the metropolis from any further additions of the old order of monumental monstrosities."

The statue was the first in the world to be cast in aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and is set on a bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 fountain, which itself inspired the marine motifs that Gilbert carved on the statue.

The statue is generally believed to depict Eros but was intended to be an image of his twin brother, Anteros
Anteros
In Greek mythology, Anteros was the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or "counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love....

. The sculptor Alfred Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert
Sir Alfred Gilbert was an English sculptor and goldsmith who enthusiastically experimented with metallurgical innovations...

 had already sculpted a statue of Anteros
Anteros
In Greek mythology, Anteros was the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or "counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love....

 and, when commissioned for the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, chose to reproduce the same subject, who, as "The God of Selfless Love" was deemed to represent the philanthropic 7th Earl of Shaftesbury suitably. Gilbert described Anteros
Anteros
In Greek mythology, Anteros was the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or "counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love....

 as portraying "reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant." The model for the sculpture was Gilbert's studio assistant, a 16-year-old Italian, Angelo Colarossi
Angelo Colarossi
Angelo Colarossi was a studio boy and assistant to the sculptor Alfred Gilbert. At the age of 15, he modelled for Gilbert's most famous statue 'Anteros' in Piccadilly Circus...

 (born 1875).

Where Eros originally pointed his bow is the subject of two urban myths. The first is that the archer is aiming up Shaftesbury Avenue. Sometimes, the story goes that this was a visual pun to commemorate the great philanthropist. If the archer were to release his arrow, its shaft would bury itself in Shaftesbury Avenue. The other is that the arrow is pointing to the Earl's country seat in Wimborne Saint Giles, Dorset. However, the 1896 photographs (on this page) of the circus taken only three years after the statue's erection clearly shows the arrow pointing in a different direction, down Lower Regent Street aptly towards Parliament. This is proven by the position relative to the statue of Shaftesbury Avenue, the London Pavilion and the Criterion Theatre.

When the memorial was unveiled, there were numerous complaints. Some felt it was sited in a vulgar part of town (the theatre district), and others felt that it was too sensual as a memorial for a famously sober and respectable Earl. Some of the objections were tempered by renaming the statue as The Angel of Christian Charity, which was the nearest approximation that could be invented in Christian terms for the role Anteros played in the Greek pantheon. However, the name never became widely known, and the original name came back, erroneously under the shortened form Eros, signifying the god of sensual love; quite inappropriate to commemorate the Earl, but just right to signify the carnal neighbourhood of London, into which Soho had developed.

Criterion Theatre

The Criterion Theatre
Criterion Theatre
The Criterion Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Piccadilly Circus in the City of Westminster, and is a Grade II* listed building. It has an official capacity of 588.-Building the theatre:...

, a Grade II* listed building, stands on the south side of Piccadilly Circus. Apart from the box office area, the entire theatre, with nearly 600 seats, is underground and is reached by descending a tiled stairway. Columns are used to support both the dress circle and the upper circle, restricting the views of many of the seats inside.

The theatre was designed by Thomas Verity
Thomas Verity
Thomas Verity was an English theatre architect during the theatre building boom of 1885–1915.Verity began his career articled in the architecture department of the War Office, assisting in the erection of the South Kensington Museum...

 and opened as a theatre on 21 March 1874, although original plans were for it to become a concert hall. In 1883, it was forced to close to improve ventilation and to replace gaslights with electric lights and was reopened the following year. The theatre closed in 1989 and was extensively renovated, reopening in October 1992.

London Pavilion

On the northeastern side of Piccadilly Circus, on the corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street, is the London Pavilion
London Pavilion
The London Pavilion is a building located on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street on the north-east side of, and facing, Piccadilly Circus in London...

. The first building bearing the name was built in 1859 and was a music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

. In 1885, Shaftesbury Avenue was built through the former site of the Pavilion, and a new London Pavilion was constructed, which also served as a music hall. In 1923, electric billboards were erected on the side of the building.

In 1934, the building underwent significant structural alteration and was converted into a cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

. In 1986, the building was rebuilt, preserving the 1885 facade, and converted into a shopping arcade
Shopping mall
A shopping mall, shopping centre, shopping arcade, shopping precinct or simply mall is one or more buildings forming a complex of shops representing merchandisers, with interconnecting walkways enabling visitors to easily walk from unit to unit, along with a parking area — a modern, indoor version...

. In 2000, the building was connected to the neighbouring Trocadero Centre, and signage on the building was altered in 2003 to read "London Trocadero". The basement
Basement
__FORCETOC__A basement is one or more floors of a building that are either completely or partially below the ground floor. Basements are typically used as a utility space for a building where such items as the furnace, water heater, breaker panel or fuse box, car park, and air-conditioning system...

 of the building connects with Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station is the London Underground station located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner...

.

Major shops

The former Swan & Edgar
Swan & Edgar
Swan & Edgar Ltd was a department store, located at Piccadilly Circus, London. It was established in the early 19th century. The premises were rebuilt and integrated in 1910-20 to a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield and became a popular place of assignation for Londoners for many generations...

 department store on the west side of the circus between Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

 and Regent Street
Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations...

 was built in 1920-23 to a design by Reginald Blomfield
Reginald Blomfield
Sir Reginald Theodore Blomfield was a prolific British architect, garden designer and author of the Victorian and Edwardian period.- Early life and career :...

. Since the closure of the department store in the early 1980s, the building has been successively the flagship London store of music chains Tower Records
Tower Records
Tower Records was a retail music chain that was based in Sacramento, California. It currently exists as an international franchise and an online music store....

, Virgin Megastore
Virgin Megastore
Virgin Megastores is an international chain of record shops, founded by Sir Richard Branson on London's Oxford Street in early 1971. Virgin Megastores are best described today as entertainment retailers....

 and Zavvi. The current occupier is clothing brand The Sting.

Lillywhites
Lillywhites
Lillywhites is a sports retailer based at Piccadilly Circus, London, United Kingdom. It is currently a division of Sports Direct International.-History:...

 is a major retailer of sporting goods
Sports equipment
Sports equipment is a general term for any object used for sport or exercise. Examples of sports equipment include:-Exercise equipment:Examples for exercise include swiss balls, weights, equipment for the gym...

 located on the corner of the circus and Lower Regent Street, next to the Shaftesbury fountain. It moved to its present site in 1925. Lillywhites is popular with tourists, and they regularly offer sale items, including international football jerseys up to 90% off. Nearby Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason, often shortened to just "Fortnum's" is a department store, situated in central London, with two other branches in Japan. Its headquarters is located at 181 Piccadilly, where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason...

 is often considered to be part of the Piccadilly Circus shopping area and is known for its expansive food hall.

Underground station and the Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus tube station
Piccadilly Circus tube station is the London Underground station located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner...

 station on the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner. It is one of the few stations which have no associated buildings above ground and is fully underground. It is itself a Grade 2 listed building.

The station is on the Piccadilly Line
Piccadilly Line
The Piccadilly line is a line of the London Underground, coloured dark blue on the Tube map. It is the fifth busiest line on the Underground network judged by the number of passengers transported per year. It is mainly a deep-level line, running from the north to the west of London via Zone 1, with...

 between Green Park
Green Park tube station
Green Park tube station is a London Underground station located on the north side of Green Park, close to the intersection of Piccadilly and the pedestrian Queen's Walk...

 and Leicester Square
Leicester Square tube station
Leicester Square is a station on the London Underground, located on Charing Cross Road, a short distance to the east of Leicester Square itself....

, and the Bakerloo Line
Bakerloo Line
The Bakerloo line is a line of the London Underground, coloured brown on the Tube map. It runs partly on the surface and partly at deep level, from Elephant and Castle in the south-east to Harrow & Wealdstone in the north-west of London. The line serves 25 stations, of which 15 are underground...

 between Charing Cross
Charing Cross tube station
Charing Cross tube station is a London Underground station at Charing Cross in the City of Westminster with entrances located in Trafalgar Square and The Strand. The station is served by the Northern and Bakerloo lines and provides an interchange with the National Rail network at station...

 and Oxford Circus
Oxford Circus tube station
-External links:* ** ** * Plans of the station after the Victoria Line works , , *...

.

Metronet
Metronet
Metronet Rail was one of two companies in a public-private partnership with London Underground.Metronet was responsible for the maintenance, renewal, and upgrade of the infrastructure on nine London Underground lines from 2003 to 2008. This included track, trains, signals, civil work and stations...

, until 2008 one of the two private maintenance companies for the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 under a public-private partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

 arrangement, refurbished Piccadilly Circus station with work started in March 2005 and completed in spring 2007. Major improvements included new floor and wall finishes, a new CCTV system, new help points, a new public address system, new electronic information displays and clocks, improved platform seating, waterproofing measures, measures to assist visually impaired passengers and improved lighting. Moving stairs or escalators were also replaced.

In popular culture

The phrase it's like Piccadilly Circus is commonly used in the UK to refer to a place or situation which is extremely busy with people. It has been said that a person who stays long enough at Piccadilly Circus will eventually bump into everyone they know. Probably because of this connection, during World War II, "Piccadilly Circus" was the code name given to the Allies' D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 invasion fleet's assembly location in the English Channel.

Piccadilly Circus has inspired artists and musicians. Piccadilly Circus (1912) is the name and subject of a painting by British artist Charles Ginner
Charles Ginner
Charles Isaac Ginner was a painter of landscape and urban subjects. Born in the south of France at Cannes, of British parents, in 1910 he settled in London, where he was an associate of Spencer Gore and Harold Gilman and a key member of the Camden Town Group.-Early years and studies:Charles Isaac...

, part of the Tate Britain
Tate Britain
Tate Britain is an art gallery situated on Millbank in London, and part of the Tate gallery network in Britain, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is the oldest gallery in the network, opening in 1897. It houses a substantial collection of the works of J. M. W. Turner.-History:It...

 collection. Sculptor Paul McCarthy
Paul McCarthy
Paul McCarthy , is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California.-Life:McCarthy was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and studied art at the University of Utah in 1969. He went on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute receiving a BFA in painting...

 also has a 320-page two-volume edition of video stills by the name of Piccadilly Circus.

L. S. Lowry
L. S. Lowry
Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist born in Barrett Street, Stretford, Lancashire. Many of his drawings and paintings depict nearby Salford and surrounding areas, including Pendlebury, where he lived and worked for over 40 years at 117 Station Road , opposite St...

 R.A painting 'Piccadilly Circus, London' (1960), part of Lord Charles Forte's collection for almost three decades, could fetch up to £6m when auctioned for the first time at Christie's 20th Century British & Irish Art sale on 16 November.

See also

  • Oxford Circus
    Oxford Circus
    Oxford Circus is the area of London at the busy intersection of Regent Street and Oxford Street, in the West End. It is served by Oxford Circus tube station, which is directly beneath the junction itself.- History :...

  • Cambridge Circus, London
    Cambridge Circus, London
    Cambridge Circus is a traffic intersection at the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road in central London...

  • Shaftesbury Avenue
    Shaftesbury Avenue
    Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in central London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus....

  • Chinawhite (nightclub)
    Chinawhite (nightclub)
    Chinawhite is a high profile nightclub in central London. It is a regular haunt of many of the best known celebrities in the tabloids in the United Kingdom...


Books

  • Harris, C. M. What's in a name? The origins of the names of all stations in current use on the London Underground and Docklands Light rail with their opening dates. Midas Books and London Transport, fourth edition, 2001. ISBN 1-85414-241-0.
  • Lange, D. The Queen's London: A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis. Cassell and Company, London, 1896.
  • Mills, A. D. Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 2004. ISBN 0-19-860957-4.
  • Piccadilly Circus: From Controversy to Reconstruction. Greater London Council, 1980. ISBN 0-7168-1145-6.

Articles


Web sites


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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