Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Piccadilly Circus

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Starting our first of what’s bound to be many exhausting days, Team Grace Kelley journeyed to the far-away land of Piccadilly Circus via the Tube.  We found the Tube to be easy, efficient, and foolproof.  Our trek began at Goodge Street Station and took us to our transfer point at Leicester Square and on to Piccadilly.  When we got off the train, we followed the clearly marked “Way Out” signs, right into the tourist heart of London.  In front of us was a fountain and statue of Eros, commemorating Antony Ashley Cooper, Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, for his philanthropic work.  The monument was surrounded by tourists of every shape and size!  As we wandered around the statue and the area, we heard at least six or seven different languages.  People were taking pictures on the stairs of the statue and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not employees were “performing” for the tourists. 

One of the more noticeable features of the Circus, or circle, was the juxtaposition between the Regency style architecture and the neon/plasma screen advertisements on the sides of the buildings.  The Regency style uses a lot of white stone facades and vertical lines.  This style was first implemented by John Nash and inspired  interior decoration, as well as fashion trends (ex. pier waistline for women).  It includes an abundance of rod-iron balconies and windows and uses symmetrical shapes, having similar elements to the Georgian style of architecture. 

Piccadilly Circus, established in 1819, was named for Pickadilly Hall, the residence of a famous tailor who was known for selling the piccadills-style collar.  Its central location in the City of Westminster makes it an ideal meeting spot and one of the most well-known places in London.  Here tour buses, the Underground, and city buses converge at a fast pace onto the crowded streets.   However, we encourage walking and found it a very easy journey back to the Arran House. 

Piccadilly Circus is a tourist trap, but it one worth seeing… watch out for pickpockets!


Ripley'sSymmetry of Regency StyleStatue of Eros

Tags: Grace · Kelley