London in Lockdown

Oxford Circus

The junction of Regent Street and Oxford Street is called Oxford Circus, and it’s known the world over. It was designed by John Nash (who also designed Brighton Pavilion and Buckingham Palace) in the early 1800s, and it began life called Regent Circus North. (Piccadilly Circus at the other end of Regent Street was called Regent Circus South.) It wasn’t until around 1836 that its current name started to be used.

Photo by Annie Mole, Flickr

The diagonal pedestrian crossing design was introduced in 2009 to help reduce congestion. It was inspired by crossings in Tokyo. I remember what it used to be like to cross here, and while it’s still always crowded (except in the pandemic of course!) this change really has made a big difference.

Did you know? When the Victoria London Underground line was opened in 1969 the Queen ‘drove’ a tube train from Green Park station to Oxford Circus. That wasn't her first London Underground experience; as children thirty years before this, she and her sister Margaret travelled on the Underground. Amusingly, at the end of the journey the girls reportedly forgot to hand in their tickets, and an inspector had to go ask for them.