Piccadilly Circus

Underground station, existing between 1906 and now

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Underground station · Piccadilly Circus · W1J ·
October
25
2020

Piccadilly Circus was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly.

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. described in 1879: "Piccadilly, the great thoroughfare leading from the Haymarket and Regent-street westward to Hyde Park-corner, is the nearest approach to the Parisian boulevard of which London can boast." The circus lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.

Piccadilly Circus tube station was opened 10 March 1906, on the Bakerloo Line, and on the Piccadilly Line 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. Traffic lights were first installed on 3 August 1926, at the junction.

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 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.




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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY



The Underground Map   
Added: 8 Dec 2020 00:24 GMT   

Othello takes a bow
On 1 November 1604, William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello was presented for the first time, at The Palace of Whitehall. The palace was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698. Seven years to the day, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Tempest was also presented for the first time, and also at the Palace of Whitehall.

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Emma Seif   
Added: 25 Jan 2022 19:06 GMT   

Birth of the Bluestocking Society
In about 1750, Elizabeth Montagu began hosting literary breakfasts in her home at 23 (now 31) Hill Street. These are considered the first meetings of the Bluestocking society.

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Comment
Linda Webb   
Added: 27 Sep 2021 05:51 GMT   

Hungerford Stairs
In 1794 my ancestor, George Webb, Clay Pipe Maker, lived in Hungerford Stairs, Strand. Source: Wakefields Merchant & Tradesmens General Directory London Westminster 1794

Source: Hungerford Stairs

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Roy Batham   
Added: 7 Jan 2022 07:17 GMT   

Smithy in Longacre
John Burris 1802-1848 Listed 1841 census as Burroughs was a blacksmith, address just given as Longacre.

Source: Batham/Wiseman - Family Tree

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Scott Hatton   
Added: 11 Sep 2020 19:47 GMT   

Millions Of Rats In Busy London
The Daily Mail on 14 April 1903 reported "MILLIONS OF RATS IN BUSY LONDON"

A rat plague, unprecedented in the annals of London, has broken out on the north side of the Strand. The streets principally infested are Catherine street, Drury lane, Blackmore street, Clare Market and Russell street. Something akin to a reign of terror prevails among the inhabitants after nightfall. Women refuse to pass along Blackmore street and the lower parts of Stanhope street after dusk, for droves of rats perambulate the roadways and pavements, and may be seen running along the window ledges of the empty houses awaiting demolition by the County Council in the Strand to Holborn improvement scheme.

The rats, indeed, have appeared in almost-incredible numbers. "There are millions of them," said one shopkeeper, and his statement was supported by other residents. The unwelcome visitors have been evicted from their old haunts by the County Council housebreakers, and are now busily in search of new homes. The Gaiety Restaurant has been the greatest sufferer. Rats have invaded the premises in such force that the managers have had to close the large dining room on the first floor and the grill rooms on the ground floor and in the basement. Those three spacious halls which have witnessed many as semblages of theatre-goers are now qui:e deserted. Behind the wainscot of the bandstand in the grillroom is a large mound of linen shreds. This represents 1728 serviettes carried theee by the rats.

In the bar the removal of a panel disclosed the astonishing fact that the rats have dragged for a distance of seven or eight yards some thirty or forty beer and wine bottles and stacked them in such a fashion as to make comfortable sleeping places. Mr Williams. the manager of the restaurant, estimates that the rats have destroyed L200 worth of linen. Formerly the Gaiety Restaurant dined 2000 persons daily; no business whatever is now done in this direction.

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Lived here
Julian    
Added: 23 Mar 2021 10:11 GMT   

Dennis Potter
Author Dennis Potter lived in Collingwood House in the 1970’s

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Comment
Jessie Doring   
Added: 22 Feb 2021 04:33 GMT   

Tisbury Court Jazz Bar
Jazz Bar opened in Tisbury Court by 2 Australians. Situated in underground basement. Can not remember how long it opened for.

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Comment
Robert smitherman   
Added: 23 Aug 2017 11:01 GMT   

Saunders Street, SE11
I was born in a prefab on Saunders street SE11 in the 60’s, when I lived there, the road consisted of a few prefab houses, the road originally ran from Lollard street all the way thru to Fitzalan street. I went back there to have a look back in the early 90’s but all that is left of the road is about 20m of road and the road sign.

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Lived here
Richard Roques   
Added: 21 Jan 2021 16:53 GMT   

Buckingham Street residents
Here in Buckingham Street lived Samuel Pepys the diarist, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling

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Justin Russ   
Added: 15 Feb 2021 20:25 GMT   

Binney Street, W1K
Binney St was previously named Thomas Street before the 1950’s. Before the 1840’s (approx.) it was named Bird St both above and below Oxford St.

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

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Watts   
Added: 17 May 2022 20:29 GMT   

Baeethoven St School, also an Annex for Paddington College of FE.
In the early 70’s I took a two year science course at Paddington CFE. The science classes were held on weekday evenings at Beethoven Street school, overseen by chemistry teacher, Mr Tattershall.

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Added: 25 Apr 2022 22:11 GMT   

Southover, N12
Everyone knows Central Woodside is the place to be. Ever since kdog moved from finchtown, Woodside has been thriving.

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Born here
Bernard Miller   
Added: 12 Apr 2022 17:36 GMT   

My mother and her sister were born at 9 Windsor Terrace
My mother, Millie Haring (later Miller) and her sister Yetta Haring (later Freedman) were born here in 1922 and 1923. With their parents and older brother and sister, they lived in two rooms until they moved to Stoke Newington in 1929. She always said there were six rooms, six families, a shared sink on the first floor landing and a toilet in the backyard.

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Brian Lynch   
Added: 10 Apr 2022 13:38 GMT   

Staples Mattress Factory
An architect’s design of the Staples Mattress Factory
An image found on the website of Dalzell’s Beds, in Armagh Northern Ireland.

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Lived here
   
Added: 19 Feb 2022 16:21 GMT   

Harmondsworth (1939 - 1965)
I lived in a house (Lostwithiel) on the Bath Road opposite the junction with Tythe Barn Lane, now a hotel site. Initially, aircraft used one of the diagonal runways directly in line with our house. I attended Sipson Primary School opposite the Three Magpies and celebrated my 21st birthday at The Peggy Bedford in 1959.

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Emma Seif   
Added: 25 Jan 2022 19:06 GMT   

Birth of the Bluestocking Society
In about 1750, Elizabeth Montagu began hosting literary breakfasts in her home at 23 (now 31) Hill Street. These are considered the first meetings of the Bluestocking society.

Reply
Comment
   
Added: 14 Jan 2022 03:06 GMT   

Goldbourne Gardens W 10
I lived in Goldbourne Gardens in the 50,s very happy big bomb site

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Chris Nash   
Added: 10 Jan 2022 22:54 GMT   

Shortlands Close, DA17
Shortlands Close and the flats along it were constructed in the mid-1990s. Prior to this, the area was occupied by semi-detached houses with large gardens, which dated from the post-war period and were built on the site of Railway Farm. The farm and its buildings spanned the length of Abbey Road, on the south side of the North Kent Line railway tracks.

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NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
Admiral Duncan The Admiral Duncan is well-known as one of Soho’s oldest gay pubs.
De Hems De Hems has become a base for London’s Dutch community, serving bitterballen and frikandellen.
Garrick Yard Garrick Yard, together with the more familiar Garrick Street to the northeast of here, both took their names from the Garrick Club which commemorates the famous 18th century actor, David Garrick.
Leicester Square Leicester Square, while indeed a square, is also the name for a tube station.
L’Escargot L’Escargot is one of London’s oldest restaurants.
Northumberland House Northumberland House was a large Jacobean townhouse in London, which was the London residence of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland.
Piccadilly Circus Piccadilly Circus was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly.
Queen’s Theatre The Queen’s Theatre is located in Shaftesbury Avenue on the corner of Wardour Street.
Wyld’s Great Globe Wyld’s Great Globe was an attraction situated in Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862.

THE STREETS OF PICCADILLY CIRCUS
Air Street, W1B Air Street’s name is believed to be a corruption of ‘Ayres’, after Thomas Ayre, a local brewer and resident in the 17th century.
Air Street, W1B Air Street was the most westerly street in London when newly built in 1658.
Church Place, W1J Church Place is one of the streets of London in the SW1Y postal area.
Clarges Street, W1J Clarges Street runs north from Piccadilly.
Denman Street, W1D Denman Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Eagle Place, SW1Y Eagle Place is one of the streets of London in the SW1Y postal area.
Garrick House, W1J Residential block
Piccadilly Circus, W1B Piccadilly Circus is one of the streets of London in the W1J postal area.
Piccadilly Circus, W1B Piccadilly Circus is a road in the W1B postcode area
Piccadilly Place, W1J Piccadilly Place is one of the streets of London in the W1J postal area.
Piccadilly, SW1Y Piccadilly is a road in the SW1Y postcode area
Sherwood Street, W1F Sherwood Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
St Jamess Market, SW1Y St Jamess Market is one of the streets of London in the SW1Y postal area.
Swallow Street, W1B Swallow Street honours Thomas Swallow, lessee in 1540 of the pastures on which the road was built.
Wilder Walk, W1F This is a street in the W1B postcode area
Yarmouth Place, W1J Yarmouth Place lies off Brick Street.

THE PUBS OF PICCADILLY CIRCUS
Jamies Italian This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
St James’ Tavern This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Queen’s Head This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.




LOCAL PHOTOS
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William Shakespeare
TUM image id: 1509551019
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Transmission
TUM image id: 1509553463
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Tottenham Court Road (1927)
TUM image id: 1556973109
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

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Transmission
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Trafalgar Square was a former station on the Bakerloo Line before it combined with Strand station on the Northern Line to become the new Charing Cross underground station.
Credit: The Underground Map
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Piccadilly Theatre (2007)
Credit: Turquoisefish
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Buses outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Date of photo unknown
Credit: Stockholm Transport Museum
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Tottenham Court Road (1927)
Licence: CC BY 2.0


London Hippodrome in 2017
Credit: Ethan Doyle White
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Sectional view of Wyld's Great Globe, which stood in Leicester Square, London 1851–62
Credit: Illustrated London News
Licence: CC BY 2.0


De Hems, 11 Macclesfield Street and the entrance to Horse & Dolphin Yard.
Credit: Colonel Warden
Licence: CC BY 2.0


The Queen’s Theatre in the West End (2011), then showing the musical "Les Misérables"
Credit: Andreas Praefcke
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Musicians waiting for work on Archer Street.
Credit: Musicians Union
Licence: CC BY 2.0


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