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london piccadilly circus / eros

Where: Brompton Road, SW7

What: Piccadilly Circus combines a mass of people with a swirl of traffic and some brightly coloured lights to make one of the traditional focal points of london; one of its best known and most photographed places.

In the daytime piccadilly circus is a bustling area filled with shoppers, business people and tourists. But in the evening the area really comes alive, with its gaudy illuminated signs and noisy mix of clubbers and couples ready for a big night out.

Piccadilly Circus itself is at the junction of five busy streets and has long been a famous London Landmark. It marks the entrance to the capital's liveliest entertainment district; where you'll find london's theatres, cinemas, clubs, pubs and restaurants.

The junction was originally part of John Nash's master plan for regent street, and piccadilly circus takes its name from the stiff collars that were the specialty of Roger Baker, a 17th-century tailor who lived nearby.

The statue of Eros, set in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, is one of the most recognisable symbols of London. Originally known as the Shaftebury Monument, it was unveiled in 1893 as a memorial to the Victorian philanthropist, Lord Shaftesbury.

Eros, a figure of a winged archer poised delicately with his bow, was intended to be an 'angel of christian charity', but was later renamed after the Greek god of love. The sculptor Alfred Gilbert incorporated a wide variety of fish and crustaceans life into the bronze fountain and the figure of Eros, rising above the fountain, was made of aluminum, which was a rare material at the time.

Unfortunately, the statue seems to attract the wrong sort of admiration. It had already been vandalised by August 1893 and has undergone various tribulations, most recently in 1994 when it was damage by a drunken visitor climbing on to it and bending the figure.

Nearest underground station: Piccadilly Circus



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