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Thursday, 7 November 2013

London Monopoly (19) Picadilly

I am resuming my journey around the London Monopoly board with Piccadilly - last of the properties in the Yellow set.

Piccadilly, looking towards Hyde Park Corner
Piccadilly runs east to west from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park Corner and is one of London's widest and straightest thoroughfares. It was once full of great mansions and houses and was formerly known as Portugal Street. A wealthy merchant named Robert Baker had a business there from the late 1500s making the lace collars called Piccadills which were fashionable at that time. It is reasonable to suppose that is the origin of the name it acquired in the 17th century although there are several competing theories.
At one time Piccadilly was known as "the most famous street in the world". It is now mostly famous for being the location of the Ritz Hotel and Fortnum & Mason the very posh grocery store and restaurant complex.
Piccadilly Circus with the statue of Eros
Situated at the epicentre of London's West End, Piccadilly Circus was always regarded as being at the very centre of the British Empire. As well as being a major crossroad it is also the metaphorical crossover point of the arts and of popular culture. It is surrounded by theatres and high-end architecture. It is an area that is always packed with tourists and students from around the world.
The statue of Eros is also known as the Shaftesbury Memorial as it was erected in 1893 in memory of the philanthropist Lord Shaftesbury. The base is made of cast bronze but, somewhat surprisingly, the statue itself is made of aluminium - a rare and precious metal at that time.

Next in this series: Regent Street. 
I will not be going to Jail. Probably.


Anonymous said...

Hot from the desk of the appalling, yet fabulous, Sir Tom Eagerly:
Lovely street is Piccadilly. I think Daddy owned it at one time.
Toodle-pip old boy!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I so wanted to visit Piccadilly when I was young. Sadly, I never got the chance.

Nice to see you back on Blogger, Bazza.

bazza said...

Sir Tom: He probably drank it away!

bazza said...

Arleen: Thanks for the welcome back. Piccadilly Circus seems to be a place for youngsters to meet these days but I think you might quite like Piccadilly itself and especially The Ritz for afternoon tea!

klahanie said...

Hey bazza,

Ah, me old mucker, the times I've been to Piccadilly Circus. Trouble is, the circus was never on when I was there.

As usual, a fascinating journey. As for Shaftesbury, I'm going to skilfully avoid any innuendo.

Toodle-pip and hello the insatiable Sir Tom!

bazza said...

Hi Gary. That must have been during the days when you were 'Mr West End' and running all those rackets! I'm glad that you didn't mention the erection of Shaftesbury's statue because this is a real classy Blog. That's why Sir Tom keeps returning.

Anonymous said...

I bought many an lp and cd in Tower records.

Interesting post Bazza. I'd never heard about it being the centre of the British Empire.....amazing!

bazza said...

Hello Anonymous. I'd forgotten about Tower Records! Those were the days, eh?

All Consuming said...

Ahh the pictures take me back to when I went to London many moons ago as a child with ma and pa. It was like visiting a different planet twas so busy and bright. We saw Leonard Rossiter on the street shortly before he died as I recall. The lights of the theaters were beautiful. Thanks for the memories bazza :)

bazza said...

AC: How charmingly provincial you are!
I think Leaonard Rositer died while waiting to go on stage in London. Maybe it was the day you saw him....spooky.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

I love the look of your first photo - so stately. Then along comes the colour - a burst of life! Would love to see in person.

I say, "buy it Bazza!"

bazza said...

Hi Dixie. If I was playing Monopoly I would love to buy hotels to place on Piccadilly but the real ones would stretch my pocket-money too far!