This panorama shows one of the most iconic parts of London, Piccadilly circus. In the panoramic image are the famous Eros statue, behind which rise huge neon advertising hoardings. This is a very busy underground station and road junction.
Piccadilly Circus was created in the 1620s and the time of the horse and cart when it connected Piccadilly to Pickadilly Hall. In this hall worked merchant famous for his collars, or piccadills. It is from this that Piccadilly was named. When John Nash built Regent Street 1819 the meeting point of the two was called Piccadilly Circus. Today this is a very busy road junction and is struggling to cope with traffic volumes.
Underneath the area is Piccadilly Circus tube station, which opened in 1906. This is as busy as the roads above, with numerous exit points disgorging visitors continuously. Piccadilly Circus is recognized world wide due to the huge neon advertising billboard on the corner of Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.
In the middle of pedestrianised area of Piccadilly Circus is Eros statue. The statue was built as a memorial to the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, who was a well known Christian with a keen concern for social justice. Among his achievements were the promotion of several Acts of Parliament forcing the improvement of working conditions, and the welfare and education of children (he formed the Ragged Schools which provided education for at least 300,000 children in London alone between 1840 and 1881).
Ironically Westminster decided to build, in honour of this Christian reformer, a statue to a Greek god Anteros, brother of Eros. It was renamed the Angel of Christian Charity after some comment, but the name never caught on, and then became known as Eros, thus seeming to celebrate the surrounding entertainment and red light areas of the West End and Soho. The statue is one of the icons of London, and used by the Evening Standard, London's daily newspaper.