The London landmark gets its name from the alternate meaning of ‘circus’ referring to a round junction where several streets meet.
(This also explains
Oxford Circus, the Tube station just a half mile northwest). The
other half of its name, meanwhile, is a centuries-old bit of
A ‘piccadill’ is a large, ruffled collar that was the height of
fashion in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries – think
portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. Creating piccadills was how one
London tailor, Robert Baker, made his fortune… and funded the
construction of his grand house here in 1611. Apparently it was
seen as a little too grand for a ‘lowly’ tailor, since it came
to be known as Pickadilly Hall. The witty put-down stuck: when
the junction was built there in 1819, it was called Piccadilly
Circus. So, of course, was the Underground station when it
opened in 1906.