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Piccadilly street sign.


Piccadilly is a major Londonmarker street, running from Hyde Park Cornermarker in the west to Piccadilly Circusmarker in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminstermarker. The street is part of the A4 roadmarker, London's second most important western artery. St. James'smarker 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 Parkmarker. The area to the north is Mayfairmarker.

It is the location of Fortnum & Masonmarker, the Royal Academymarker, The Ritz Hotelmarker and Hatchards book shop. Simpsonsmarker, once amongst the United Kingdommarker'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. The area is also home to a number of popular nightclubs ranging from the exclusive ‘Paper’ Nightclub on Regent Streetmarker to the tourist-friendly ‘Sound’ in Leicester Squaremarker.

History

Until the 17th century the street was known as Portugalmarker Street. The name Piccadilly arises from a tailor named Robert Baker, who owned a shop on the Strandmarker, 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 Englishmarker 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 Housemarker (now the location of Albemarle Streetmarker), Berkeley House (later Devonshire Housemarker), and Sir John Denham's house (later Burlington Housemarker) were constructed in the 17th century. Later mansions included Melbourne House (now The Albanymarker), Apsley Housemarker, Bath House and Cambridge Housemarker. 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 Cornermarker as a major traffic gyratory system has truncated the western stretch of Piccadilly, with the result that Apsley Housemarker has become detached from it.
The Ritz
21st century Piccadilly is not one of London's principal shopping streets, despite the presence of several famous shops. The Ritz Hotelmarker is in the street, along with some other luxury hotels. There are also some offices and some very expensive flats. Piccadilly is one of the widest and straightest streets in central London.

Fiction

In the 1881 comic opera Patience, the popular poetaster and fraud Bunthorne's means of publicizing himself is to walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lilly.

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 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's use of 221b Baker Streetmarker for Sherlock Holmes.

There was a British film made in 1929 called "Piccadilly".

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

In Brideshead Revisited, the family mansion Marchmain House in Piccadilly is demolished and replaced with luxury flats; although an incident in fiction, this is, in fact, representative of the period.

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.

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."

Transport

The Piccadilly Line of the London Underground takes its name from Piccadilly and part of the line travels under Piccadilly. Green Parkmarker, Hyde Park Cornermarker and Piccadilly Circusmarker tube stations all have entrances either in or near Piccadilly.

Selected adjoining streets include:



See also



References

  • Robert Baker of Piccadilly Hall and His Heirs by F.H.W. Sheppard (ISBN 0-902087-18-5)


External links




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