Piccadilly is a major
Londonstreet, running from Hyde Park Cornerin the west to Piccadilly Circusin the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St. James'slies 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 Park. The area to the north is Mayfair.
It is the location of
Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy, The Ritz Hoteland Hatchardsbook shop. Simpsons, once amongst the United Kingdom'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.
Until the 17th century the area was known as
Portugal, after Portugal Street. The name of Piccadilly arises from a tailor named Robert Baker, who owned a shop on the Strand, in the late-16th century and early-17th century. He amassed a large fortune by making and selling piccadills (also called "picadils"—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.
Restorationof the English 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 House(now the location of Albemarle Street), Berkeley House (later Devonshire House), and Sir John Denham's house (later Burlington House) were constructed in the 17th century. Later mansions included Melbourne House (now The Albany), Apsley House, Bath House and Cambridge House. 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.21st century Piccadilly has a hybrid range of uses. Despite the presence of two or three famous shops, it is not really one of London's principal shopping streets. The Ritz Hotelis 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, and is thus popular with motorists.
Lord Peter Wimseynovels 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 Streetfor Sherlock Holmes.
There was a British film made in 1929 called "Piccadilly".
Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, Count Dracula owns a house at Piccadilly.
Piccadilly Lineof the London Undergroundtakes its name from Piccadilly and part of the line travels under Piccadilly. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly Circus tube stations all have entrances either on or near to Piccadilly.
Selected adjoining streets include:
Hyde Park Corner
Old Bond Street
St James's Street
St James's Church, Piccadilly
* "Robert Baker of Piccadilly Hall and His Heirs" by F.H.W. Sheppard (ISBN 0-902087-18-5)
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=41452 The Early History of Piccadilly] — from the "
Survey of London"
* [http://www.iht.com/articles/1999/01/30/simpson.t.php An article from the International Herald Tribune about the closing of Simpsons, its history and place on Piccadilly]
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