Lights off! – The Shape Shifting square of Piccadilly Circus


When talking about billboards and advertisement is impossible not to think of places like Piccadilly Circus (Also called “the mini time square of Europe”) where tourists all over the globe come to see the gigantic LED billboards and be amazed by the mesmerizing vibes. Tying to JP latest CTS about empty billboards, from this month throughout all 2017 the giant billboards that have lit up London’s Piccadilly Circus for more than 100 years have been switched off for renovation.

The six famous screens, which have long been a tourist attraction in the capital, are to be replaced by a single, large curved screen. Vasiliki Arvaniti, Portfolio Manager at Land Securities, which has owned the Lights since the Seventies, said: “This is a huge day for Piccadilly Lights and though it will be a strange feeling to see them go dark, we’re incredibly excited about their future” continues Arvaniti. Will this renovation affect tourism in London? Will this change affects the way tourists will relate to one of the most iconic sightseeing in the UK capital?

To answer the last question, it is necessary to talk about the ongoing changings this gigantic LED billboard has always gone through. Since the late 30’s, this square has always been linked to advertisement and product placement. As WWII started, Piccadilly’s lights went off and they were switched back on in 1949. During the early 50’s the first animated billboards started showing up until they started adopting video billboard back in the 1970’s. No major changes occurred since the 90’s, years where a slight billboard renovation came into place. Since then things did not change much, until now.

As we can see Piccadilly Circus went through different changings over the last fifty years or so, this year renovation is just part of an ongoing enhancement process of one of the top sightseeing in the capital. Go forward London.

1937: Piccadilly Circus at night on New Years Day
March 1949: The Piccadilly Circus lights were switched back on in 1949 having been off since the Second World War started
January 1959: Piccadilly Circus is shrouded in fog in the late 1950s, with adverts for Bovril, Schweppes and Coca-Cola visible
November 1998: Land Securities, which owns the site, was given permission to perform the overhaul by Westminster Council
July 2006: The normally-lit neon signs are seen switched off at Piccadilly Circus after a power cut hit part of Central London
November 2014: A familiar scene in Central London of Piccadilly Circus – and heavy rain sweeping over the area


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