I did not know this, from a massive thread about the London Underground, done by a lady called Antonia:
In 1612 a man named Robert Baker built a mansion house just to the north of Piccadilly Circus.
He became wealthy from selling Picadils, stiff collars worn by the fashionable gents in court.
He called his mansion Picadil Hall, and the name Piccadilly stuck.
She should surely have said “north of what is now” Piccadilly Circus. But pedantry aside, good to know. And no wonder we’re all confused about how the hell to spell Pic(c)adil(l)y. The name got started at a time when they never knew things like that in the first place.
This is from one of those Twitter “threads” that ought to be a blog posting, but isn’t, because it doesn’t make sense to stop using Twitter just because you feel an essay coming on. (I think very short blog postings work fine, whereas great piles of tweets are often a dismembered mess. This one’s okay, though, because each tweet is a distinct bit of information.)
When she said “mansion house” I thought it was going to be Mansion House she was explaining, even though that’s not, I now realise, where Mansion House (Tube) is.
So this blog has now done Piccadilly Circus, and before that, Horseferry Road. I’m not now going to start looking for these explanations of funny London names. But when I bump into another, I’ll try to remember to notice it here.
I bumped into this one because a bloke whose photos I like retweeted the thread in his feed.