UK

Piccadilly Circus Lights Switched Off: How London's Iconic Billboard Site Has Changed

The renovations are due to be completed in the autumn.

16/01/2017 12:17 GMT

Piccadilly Circus’s iconic electronic billboards were switched off on Monday for the longest period of time since World War Two.

The electrical advertisements were turned off at 8.30am to allow for renovation work to take place.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
People watch as the advertising screens at Piccadilly Circus, central London, after they were switched off in preparation for redevelopment.

A temporary advertising banner will replace the lights until a new screen is unveiled in the autumn.

The lights were turned off in 1939 during World War Two blackouts and were not switched on again until 1949.

Apart from power cuts and special events, today is the first time the lights have been turned off since the end of the war.

Here’s a look back at London’s iconic Piccadilly Circus:

  • 1919
    Other
  • 1930
    Barratts/S&G and Barratts
    'Old Polly' a flower seller and familiar face at Piccadilly Circus
  • 1933
    Len Putnam/AP
    General view of Piccadilly Circus, London, England on September 1933.
  • 1937
    AP
    Traffic makes its way around Piccadilly Circus in London on October 1937.
  • 1940
    PA/PA Archive
    Passers-by peer into a bomb crater in the London thoroughfare caused during a Luftwaffe air raid.
  • 1945
    Handout . / Reuters
    Canadian soldiers celebrate VE-Day at Piccadilly Circus, London, May 8,1945
  • 1945
    LESLIE PRIEST/AP
    British civilians and Allied service men and women gather, as part of a huge crowd, along Piccadilly, near London's Piccadilly Circus, May 7, 1945, to celebrate Germany's total surrender. 
  • 1946
    PA/PA Archive
    Traffic in Piccadilly Circus.
  • 1947
    Barratts/S&G and Barratts
    Piccadilly Circus.
  • 1949
    Barratts/S&G and Barratts
    Electric signs light up Piccadilly Circus for the first time since the Second World War.
  • 1949
    PA/PA Wire
    March 1949.
  • 1953
    AP/AP
    Members of the Sri Lankan contingent march through Piccadilly Circus, London, during the processions following the coronation of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, June. 2, 1953. 
  • 1955
    PA/PA Archive
    Crowds in Piccadilly Circus wait for the results of the General Election.
  • 1958
    PA/PA Archive
    Traffic on Piccadilly Circus.
  • 1959
    PA/PA Wire
    January 1959.
  • 1963
    ALPHA GENERAL/S&G and Barratts
    Piccadilly Circus blacked out to help during the power cuts.
  • 1970
    Eddie Worth/AP
    This is Piccadilly Circus in London, shown March 5, 1970. The statue of Eros is boarded up for renovation.
  • 1971
    MD/AP
    Piccadilly Circus in London, England in 1971.
  • 1993
    Harris/PA Wire
    August 1993.
  • 1998
    Tony Harris/PA Archive
    December 1998.
  • 2003
    Sean Dempsey/PA Archive
    The England rugby team, which won the World Cup last month in Australia, are cheered on by thousands of fans as they ride on a procession of open-top buses through London's Piccadilly Circus. Later the team were travelling to receptions at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
  • 2003
    Peter MacDiarmid / Reuters
    Anti-war protestors march through Piccadilly Circus during a demonstration against a possible war on Iraq in London February 15, 2003. 
  • 2007
    LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AP
    Backdropped by Piccadilly Circus, members of a motorcycle fan club ride in formation during the annual New Year's Day Parade in central London, Monday January 1, 2007. 
  • 2012
    Ian West/PA Archive
    Flags from all over the world hang in Piccadilly Circus in London. London is getting ready to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
  • 2014
    Matt Crossick/PA Wire
    Piccadilly Circus in the rain. November 2014.