Piccadilly Circus is a busy square in the heart of London
It is famous for the fountain that was installed here at the end of the 19th century and for the neon advertising that turned the square into a miniature version of Times Square (No, I don’t mean THAT Times Square
Capital; Kuala Lumpur
The Circus was created by John Nash as part of the future King George IV’s plan to connect Carlton House – where the Prince Regent resided – with Regent’s Park.
The creation of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1885 turned the plaza into a busy traffic junction.
This made Piccadilly Circus attractive for advertisers, who installed London’s first illuminated billboards here in 1895. For some time the plaza was surrounded by billboards, creating London’s version of Times Square, but currently only one building still carries large (mostly electronic) displays.
Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
At the center of the Circus stands the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
It was built in 1893 to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, a philanthropist known for his support of the poor.
The semi-nude statue on top of the fountain depicts the Angel of Christian Charity but was later renamed Eros after the Greek god of love and beauty. The fountain was made in bronze, but the statue is made of aluminum, at the time a novel and rare material.
How Piccadilly got it’s name
Piccadilly Circus Today
Named for the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Leicester Square in London
is at the heart of the city’s prime entertainment district, situated in close proximity to Piccadilly Circus.
The square is embellished with several monuments including a fountain dedicated to Shakespeare.
History of the Square
Situated in an area that was once part of a four-acre tract owned by Robert Sydney, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Leicester Square was open to the public around 1640 after locals protested the privatization of the land that was once common ground.
Development of the area began around 1670 and it quickly became a fashionable place to live as homes sprung up around the original Leicester House which, for some time during the very early 1700s, was the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
By the late 18th century, however, the character of the square changed and it soon became an area known for its entertainment venues, one of the first of which was a “museum of natural curiosities” known as the Holophusikon.
By the 19th century, more entertainment facilities sprung up around Leicester Square, including Wyld’s Globe, which was built for the International Exposition and housed a giant scale map of the world; and the 1854-built Alhambra, which for many years dominated the square.
It was joined thirty years later by the Empire Theatre of Varieties. All would help to establish Leicester Square as the heart of the West End entertainment district.
The square is car-free and can be very crowded, especially on weekend evenings.
It is often the starting point for people who want to visit one of the many cinemas, theaters, snack bars and restaurants that are in the neighborhood.
Several major cinemas line the square, giving it its nickname “Theatreland”.
Visitors will also find a “TKTS” half-price ticket booth here, where discount tickets can be purchased for popular West End shows and musicals.
A handful of TV and radio stations also have their headquarters at Leicester Square.
But the square itself has some interesting sights as well.
In the center of the square, for instance, visitors will find a garden.
In the middle of the garden is a marble fountain with a statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by dolphins.
The fountain, created by Giovanni Fontana in 1874 is known as the Shakespeare Memorial Fountain.
At each corner of the park is a statue of another famous Londoners, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Hunter, and William Hogarth.
In addition, the square is surrounded with floor plaques that include the names and handprints of famous actors, similar to those found at the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.
More pictures of Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square can be found below, for your viewing pleasure. 😉
If you want to be my friend, just add me on my personal Facebook account(s)!
~Thanks for reading yo!!~