There’s nowhere quite like Piccadilly Circus. From the moment they emerge, blinking from the underground station, visitors to Piccadilly Circus face a sensory onslaught. Its streets and alleyways merge into an intoxicating thoroughfare, with the power to propel an individual onwards to adventure, romance, or something more sinister. Ever since its iconic Eros statue appeared in 1893, the junction has been a vibrant meeting place, attracting visitors and pleasure-seekers from all walks of life: political plans and theatrical careers were hatched at its restaurant and café tables, lovers met below the statue of Eros, and to this day tourists pour out of its historic Tube to experience the bright lights of London’s nightlife.
Piccadilly explores how the area has been shaped by social and historical events – from female suffrage to world wars to technological advancements – and by its colourful cast of characters – from flower girls, shop assistants and sex workers, to film stars, Bright Young Things and conmen (and women).
For many, the Circus has represented both a home from home and a brave new world, as campaigners, revellers, opportunists and romantics have all been drawn to Piccadilly’s bright lights. Join Lucinda Hawksley on 12 January, as she chats to fellow author Midge Gillies about why the story of why Piccadilly Circus continues to mean so much to so many.