Like Piccadilly Circus

Happy surprises at Piccadilly Circus – a station I’d probably try to avoid if possible, with an image of swarming crowds and chaos. It was amazingly un-busy, and it seems restored to something of it’s former glory, with lots of the clutter taken out and some special features put in. When it’s not so crowded, it’s an amazing space (by Charles Holden) – a circus it definitely is, very unusual to feel yourself in a round building, especially underground.. A subtle memorial roundel to former London Underground chief Frank Pick was the first thing to strike me (maybe one for Harry Beck who designed the Map would be nice somewhere too – or maybe there is one); a window with a display of Japanese fans to calm you; lots of the old signage cleaned up, and a map of the world (all the world meets at Piccadilly Circus…). How pleasant!

 

Came across an old cutaway illustration of the station when it was first built – like a kind of brain! Incredible that all this is going on below ground, underneath the shops and roads and buildings, people rushing about under our feet…

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