#StationStories - the Piccadilly Circus edition

The train has now arrived at Piccadilly Circus… 

Founded: 10th March 1906
Lines: Piccadilly and Bakerloo

Bio: Piccadilly Circus Tube station was opened on 10th March 1906 by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (now the Bakerloo line). By 1907, 1.5 million passengers were using the station platforms and by 1922 this number had grown to 18 million. In order to keep up with the huge volume of passengers, the station underwent construction in 1925. A subsurface booking hall, circulating area and a public pedestrian subway were created. Half a million pounds was spent on this renovation with a total of 11 escalators installed, leading to the two lines serving the station.

Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk

Since the early 1900’s, the Tube station has been surrounded by illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, although now only the north-western corner remains as an illuminated advertising billboard. Known as the ‘Piccadilly Lights’, it is one of London’s and the world’s best known landmarks, having been a feature of the city for over 100 years, dominating Piccadilly Circus.   Coca-Cola is the longest serving advertiser having had a sign at Piccadilly Circus since 1954.

Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk

Piccadilly Circus is a proposed stop on the new Chelsea–Hackney line, also known as the Crossrail 2, a new high-frequency, high-capacity rail line running through London and into Surrey and Hertfordshire. If the line becomes part of the London Underground, it is possible that a new station may have to be built under the existing levels. However the Chelsea-Hackney Line is not likely to be completed until at least 2022.

Did you know?

  • Piccadilly Circus station is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner. It is one of the few stations which has no associated buildings above ground. It is itself a Grade 2 listed building
  • The name ‘Piccadilly’ originates from a seventeenth-century frilled collar called a piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making piccadils, lived in the area. ‘Circus’ refers to the roundabout which traffic used to circulate 
  • The bright advertising billboards have only been switched off twice, once for Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965 and then again for Princess Diana’s in 1997
  • At the centre of Piccadilly Circus is the famous Eros statue, a popular location for visitors to take photographs. Unknown to most, the Eros statue is in fact a memorial to the Earl of Shaftesbury and not the Greek God of Love

Looking to advertise at Piccadilly Circus? Read more about advertising on the London Underground via our dedicated page.

#StationStories - A celebration of the iconic London Underground and its surrounds