Piccadilly

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Piccadilly
PiccadillySign.jpg
Other name(s)A4 road
Length0.8 mi (1.3 km)
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
East endPiccadilly Circus
Major
junctions
Bond Street
St James's Street
West endHyde Park Corner
 
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For other uses, see Piccadilly (disambiguation).
Piccadilly
PiccadillySign.jpg
Other name(s)A4 road
Length0.8 mi (1.3 km)
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
East endPiccadilly Circus
Major
junctions
Bond Street
St James's Street
West endHyde Park Corner

Piccadilly (/ˌpɪkəˈdɪlɪ/) is a road in London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the City of Westminster and forms part of the A4 route. The area of St. James's lies to the south of the eastern section of the street, while the western section is built up only on the northern side and overlooks Green Park. The area to the north is Mayfair.

Piccadilly is one of the widest and straightest streets in central London. It is the location of several notable London landmarks and buildings, including Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy, the Ritz Hotel, the RAF Club, Hatchards, the Embassy of Japan and the High Commission of Malta. Simpson's, once amongst the United Kingdom's leading clothing stores, opened on Piccadilly in the 1930s. The store closed in 1999 and the site is now the flagship shop of the booksellers Waterstone's.

History[edit]

Apsley House on an 1869 map. The neighbouring houses were demolished in the post-War period to allow Park Lane to be widened. The Wellington Arch has been moved since this time.

Until the 17th century the street was known as Portugal Street. The name Piccadilly may have arisen from a tailor named Robert Baker, who owned a shop on the Strand, in the late 16th century and early 17th century. He amassed a large fortune by making and selling piccadills (also called picadils or pickadils—stiff collars with scalloped edges and a broad lace or perforated border), that were then in fashion. With his great fortune he purchased a large tract of what was then open country to the west of London, and in about 1612 he built a large house there. The mansion soon became known as Piccadilly Hall. After the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, Piccadilly and the area to the north (Mayfair) began to be systematically developed as a fashionable residential locality. Some of the grandest mansions in London were built on the northern side of Piccadilly: Clarendon House (now the location of Albemarle Street), Berkeley House (later Devonshire House), and Sir John Denham's house (later Burlington House) were constructed in the 17th century. Several members of the Rothschild family had mansions at the western end of the street, and that part of it was colloquially referred to as Rothschild Row. By the 1920s most of these buildings had been demolished or were in institutional use. The enlargement of Park Lane and the formation of Hyde Park Corner as a major traffic gyratory system has truncated the western stretch of Piccadilly, with the result that Apsley House has become detached from it.

Today, Piccadilly is widely regarded as one of London's principal shopping streets, hosting several famous shops. The Ritz Hotel is located on the street, along with other luxury hotels and offices.

Transport[edit]

Piccadilly forms one of the major East-West road routes in the West End of London, and forms part of the A4 road. The A4 is the second most important artery for traffic to the West of central London, after the Westway (A40). It is the main road from central London to Hammersmith, Earl's Court and Heathrow Airport; beyond London it proceeds to Maidenhead, Reading, Bath, Bristol and eventually terminates at Avonmouth.

Piccadilly connects two major junctions at Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner. It has a major road junction with St James's Street, and other significant junctions with Albemarle Street, Bond Street and Dover Street.

London bus routes 9, 14, 19, 22, 38, C2, N9, N19, N22, N38 and N97 all run along Piccadilly.

The Piccadilly line on the London Underground takes its name from Piccadilly[citation needed] and part of the line travels under the street. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, and Piccadilly Circus stations (which are all on the Piccadilly line) have entrances either in or near Piccadilly.

Notable locations[edit]

Several notable buildings, businesses and landmarks are located along Piccadilly. The following locations are have their own Wikipedia articles, and are arranged in order starting from the East end of the road and proceeding West.

Fiction[edit]

Raffles, E. W. Hornung's "gentleman thief" lives at Albany as does Jack Worthing from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

Many P.G. Wodehouse novels use the setting of Piccadilly as the playground of the rich, idle bachelor in the inter-war period of the 20th century. Notable instances of this are present in the characters of Bertie Wooster and his Drones Club companions in the Jeeves stories and the character of James Crocker in the story Piccadilly Jim.

In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, Count Dracula owns a house on Piccadilly.

In Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, the family mansion Marchmain House, which is supposedly located in a cul-de-sac off St James's, near Piccadilly, is demolished and replaced with luxury flats; although an incident in fiction, this is, in fact, representative of the period. In Granada TV's dramatization of the novel Bridgewater House in Cleveland Row, which like its prototype backs on to Green Park, was used as the exterior of Marchmain House.

In Arthur Machen's 1894 novella The Great God Pan, Helen Vaughan, the satanic villainess and offspring of Pan, lives off Piccadilly in the pseudonymous Ashley Street.

Margery Allingham's fictional detective, Albert Campion, has a flat at 17A Bottle Street, Piccadilly, over a police station. However, Bottle Street is a made-up name.

In the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter's address in London is 110A Piccadilly. The number 110A was chosen in homage to Arthur Conan Doyle's use of 221B Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes.

In the 1881 comic opera Patience, the popular poetaster and fraud Bunthorne's means of publicising himself is to 'walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily in his medieval hand'.

In a Virginia Woolf short story, The Legacy, the main character's (Gilbert Clandon) wife kills herself by stepping into traffic on Piccadilly.

In Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady, Ralph Touchett establishes Isabel Archer and Miss Henrietta Stackpole "at a quiet inn in a street that ran at right angles to Piccadilly" during their visit to London.

There was a British film made in 1929 called Piccadilly.

The British band Squeeze refers to the area in the song "Piccadilly" on their album East Side Story with the lyrics, "She meets me in piccadilly/A begging folk singer stands tall by the entrance/His song relays worlds of most good intentions/A fiver a ten p in his hat for collection."

The American band OneRepublic references Piccadilly in their song "Good Life" with the lyrics, "Woke up in London yesterday/Found myself in the city near Piccadilly."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Location Map - Criterion Theatre". Criterion-Theatre.co.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2014. "Foyer Entrance : 218-223 Piccadilly" 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′25″N 0°08′32″W / 51.50698°N 0.14235°W / 51.50698; -0.14235