Piccadilly Circus is one of the most famous landmarks in London and is located at the hub of the city's theatre district, the 'West End'.

The name itself is attributed to a dressmaker who lived in the area in the 17th century: she created a frilled collar called a 'piccadil'. My guess is that the 'circus' part of the name is a reference to the roundabout at this busy intersection, which handles the large volume of traffic converging from Regent Street, Haymarket, Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue.

The crowning glory of Piccadilly Circus is the statue of Eros, unveiled in 1893 to pay tribute to the philanthropic deeds of Lord Shaftesbury, after whom Shaftesbury Avenue is also named. The 'Shaftesbury Monument', as it was originally called, is an ornate fountain made from bronze topped by an aluminium statue of a winged cherub pulling back on a small bow. This figure was designed to symbolise the Christian charity embodied by Lord Shaftesbury, but it soon came to be known as Eros, the god of love. Eros has had a bit of a rough ride over the years, including several acts of vandalism and a several trips to be cleaned.

Interestingly, Eros has pointed in three directions since he was first mounted atop the fountain, but, inexplicably, never towards Shaftesbury Avenue whose namesake he commemorates.

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