The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 9 Piccadilly

Piccadilly Circus

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9. PICCADILLY. STATIONS: Piccadilly Circus, on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Tubes; Dover Street, Down Street, and Knightsbridge, on the Piccadilly Tube. OMNIBUSES, Nos. 9, 14, 19, 22, 25, 26, 33, 38, 44, 96, etc. Piccadilly Circus, a very irregularly shaped 'circus' at the junction of some half-dozen important streets, is one of the famous centres of traffic in the West End, thronged at all times with a motley crowd of passengers and vehicles, but presenting perhaps its most characteristic aspect in the evening, when pleasure-seekers are hastening to restaurant and theatre, or, later, when the theatres are disgorging their audiences. The Shaftesbury Memorial, by Alfred Gilbert, a pyramidal bronze fountain surmounted by a winged figure of an archer with his bow ('Eros') unveiled in 1893 in memory of the philanthropic Earl of Shaftesbury (died 1885), was temporarily removed in 1925 from the middle of the Circus during the construction of a new Piccadilly Circus Station for the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Tubes. On the south side of the Circus are the Criterion Theatre and Restaurant; opposite is the London Pavilion, behind which is the Trocadero Restaurant; and a little to the west, at the beginning of Glasshouse St., appears the Regent Palace Hotel. A heavy bomb fell in the Circus on October 19th, 1917, fusing the gas mains and causing considerable damage to life and property. For the visitor to London Piccadilly Circus is a convenient starting-place for exploring the West End. Coventry St. runs thence to the east to Leicester Square and Soho; the broad Shaftesbury Avenue, with its numerous theatres, leads north-east through Soho to High Holborn and New Oxford St.; Regent St., interrupted by the Circus, leads north to Oxford St. and Regent's Park and south to Waterloo Place and Pall Mall; while Piccadilly runs south-west to Hyde Park.