A Trip to Piccadilly Circus.

Posted on 05/03/2017 By

Piccadilly Circus: 1962

Piccadilly Circus.

Bobby… “We are going to a circus!”

Bertie… “Wow… All that colour, lights, fun, clowns. You would make a good clown Bobby. You’re good at falling over…”

Bobby… “Thank you. I’ve been called a clown many times. Usually derogatory. Anyway, not that sort of circus. We are going to Piccadilly Circus. They turned the lights out. Here is how they looked at Christmas.

Piccadilly Circus: Christmas.

Christmas Lights!

Piccadilly Circus: Christmas.

And again.

And now…

Piccadilly Circus: No Lights.

And now. No lights!

If you don’t know, a “Circus” is a circular meeting of Roads as well as Zippo, Coco and the rest. Shaftesbury Avenue spoiled the circle at Piccadilly when it was added later. Anyway, they have turned the lights off. For months. The most famous lights in the world some say. Others argue that Times Square in New York has that accolade.

In the old days they were neon. Here are some pictures from 1962 on Bobby’s first camera. A Kodak Retinette 1b.

Piccadilly Circus: 1962

A more “traditional” view.

Piccadilly Circus: The Coca Cola Advert.

Piccadilly Circus and one of the more famous adverts, perhaps?

For those who love the old films “Look At Life” has some gems. See if you can see the mistakes though. This is London 1967. When Bobby was a lad.

Nowadays digital. LED. Some prefer neon. See later. Whatever you prefer, the firm that owns them is to update them to the latest space age technology and dismantle them to do it. So they turned them off for months. For the time being it’s very odd. But to be honest, we love the station entrances. Particularly in the rain. After dark.

Piccadilly Circus: Station Entrance.

Going down to Piccadilly Circus Station.

Piccadilly Circus: Station Entrance.It’s a very unusual station. All of it underground. Just below the road is another world. A world of Art Deco, and now a wonderful new memorial to Frank Pick.”

Bertie… “Who was he?”

Bobby… “Have a look at the board on the wall. He created the images and styles for London Transport that we all take for granted. One famous the world over. Truly iconic.

Piccadilly Circus: Frank Pick.

Frank Pick … and Bertie!

Piccadilly Circus: Frank Pick.

Frank Pick Interpretation Board.

Piccadilly Circus: Frank Pick.

Frank Pick Tribute.

Piccadilly Circus: Frank Pick.

Beautiful Art Deco Styling.

If you still yearn for neon, you could go to God’s Own Junkyard.


My photographer friend Kat did just that and sent me some photos for this blog. Thanks Kat.

Piccadilly Circus: God's Own Junk Yard. Piccadilly Circus: God's Own Junk Yard. Piccadilly Circus: God's Own Junk Yard. Piccadilly Circus: God's Own Junk Yard. Piccadilly Circus: God's Own Junk Yard.

Piccadilly Circus. Statue of Anteros

The Angel of Christian Charity.

And, of course there’s him. You probably know him as Eros. The God of Love. He is, in fact the Angel of Christian Charity. The Greek God Anteros
The brother of Eros. The whole feature being the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury. A
Victorian social reformer. The statue itself is, unusually, made of aluminium. Regularly being boxed in for protection. New Years Eve and so on.

And Bobby was a clown once. Percy. The Road Safety Clown, when he worked for the Highways Agency and helped to run show stands at big events. A time when the job was fun before austerity took over.

Piccadilly Circus: Bobby as Percy the Clown.

Percy the Clown.

Here’s Percy. His owner Louis. Bobby’s entertainer friend, who brought the clown to the shows as the Road Safety Clown. And Jasmine. Just six then in 2004. Now a mum to our great grandson Jay. And Bobby inside the inflated clown looking through the buttons. Seriously windy and very hot
inside. Percy that is…

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

Piccadilly Circus: Lighting a Candle for Diddley. St Dunstan in the West.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

I was on the top of a 341 bus going down Fleet Street. The sign on the church said “open”. And so I found myself in St Dunstan in the West. A church of somewhat tardis like octagonal interior, given its outside. Lighting a Candle is giving me opportunities I could never have dreamed of. A church
like St Dunstan in the West deserves an entire blog. Instead, I sat there and thought about why I was sitting in peace just a few yards from the famous busy London Street. Impressed by the fact that the church is famous for its magnificent clock outside. The Clock and the Giants 1671. The first public clock in London to have a minute hand. As well as being an Anglican church, it is also home to the Romanian Orthodox church in London. For more read: www.stdunstaninthewest.org

Piccadilly Circus: Lighting a Candle for Diddley. St Dunstan in the West.

St Dunstans in the West, Fleet Street, London. (And the clock)


Piccadilly Circus    

  1. Avatar Felicity Drewett says:

    Still can’t get over Piccadilly Circus being in the dark. Just not right. But let’s hope the new lights are even better. London by night. Can’t beat it. My dad, brother and Uncle John went to the public school St Dunstan’s College in S.London. The school still beats the bounds for St Dunstan every year and a small boy is dipped in the Thames……my family were mercifully been spared that joy!!!

  2. Avatar Bernard says:

    Great reflection in starting photo. You have opened up little known work of Frank Pic in an important landmark.

    • Avatar Bertie says:

      He is famous now. Beautiful memorial at Picadilly. That first picture was a few months after I had joined the L &G. My first purchase. A camera.

  3. Avatar Chris Norman says:

    Hi Bob & Bertie. Some great pictures, new & old. What it happening in Piccadilly Circus? I am amazed you got such an empty picture of the station, when ever we have been there its all people.

    • Avatar Bertie says:

      The memorial is away from the main station concourse. Next time have a look. It’s beautiful marble

  4. Avatar kate says:

    love the pictures of old ads in Piccadilly Circus.. what a beautiful town London is…

  5. Avatar Jonathan Burns says:

    Thanks for another lovely post. St. Dunstan’s is a beautiful church. And of course the London Tranport designs are timeless. Coincidentally enough, I have just come back from an evening spent in the company of two delightful friends from L T, where we dined at the splendid National Liberal Club!

    • Avatar Bertie says:

      Wow JB …. how about Acton Depot open day 22nd April. Bertie would be pleased to meet you,

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