Monday, 10 January 2011

Piccadilly: Green Park to Hyde Park Corner

Piccadilly runs east to west from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park Corner, thus connecting two of London's busiest traffic hot-spots.

There is a natural divide to Piccadilly at Green Park Station and the Ritz Hotel where the south side of the street becomes bordered by Green Park itself. So apart from Green Park, what happens to Piccadilly between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner?

There are a number of streets running north - all of which are part the West End's horrifying one way maze. This delightfully Victorian looking street is White Horse Street which if followed north will lead to Shepherd Market.

As with many of the buildings in the area a lot of what were once residences for the gentry the buildings in this street are in poor repair although some construction work was evident.

In Down Street the distinctive facade remains of an abandoned tube station. Sitting between Green Park and Hyde Park on the Piccadilly Line it was squeezed out of use by the expansion of the other two stations and closed in 1932. The areas behind the bricked up platforms were used as bunkers during the second world war.

If you pay close attention you can spot the location as you travel between Green Park and Hyde Park on the tube as the face of the tunnel material changes.

At Hyde Park Corner is Constitution Arch (also known as Wellington Arch) with the lovely sculpture of The Angel of Peace descending on the Quadriga of Victory. This was put on the Arch in 1912 replacing a statute of the Duke of Wellington. The Arch is cut off from its surroundings by the gyratory that is Hyde Park Corner - a by-word for busy and chaotic traffic. There are also a number of other monuments to be seen at Hyde Park corner... which will have to wait for another post. 
The view was spoiled a bit on Monday lunchtime by a gentleman taking his exercises in front of the Arch.

Amongst the buildings on this stretch of Piccadilly are several luxury hotels these include The Athenaeum which boast London's only living wall. Rather than the normal sedum or climbing ivy this is a vertical garden.  It contains 260 plant types and includes species from all over the world.

The ballroom entrance to the Park Lane Hotel is not its main entrance, but I rather like the faded 1920s grandeur.

Almost back to Green Park Station again when I noticed two engraved panels on Stratton House. I have worked in Mayfair for six years and this is the first time that I have noticed these, which does not say much for my powers of observation!
Home to the Netherlands Government for five years during World War II.