Lights go out at London's Piccadilly Circus

A new permanent single screen will be unveiled in place of the current six screens


Afp January 16, 2017
People stand under Union Flag umbrellas during rain in Piccadilly Circus in London November 8, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: The iconic lights that illuminate London's Piccadilly Circus were turned off on Monday for renovations, the first time since World War II they have gone dark, except for power cuts and funerals.

The billboards at the central London hub have displayed illuminated advertisements for more than a century, but will not be switched on again until the autumn, when a new permanent single screen will be unveiled in place of the current six screens.

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The lights went out at 08:30 am (0830 GMT), and a temporary advertising banner will replace the screens.

The new screen will flash advertisements to the 100 million people who are estimated to pass by each year as well as news, sport and weather updates.

The last time the lights went out for a lengthy spell was in 1939, when cities turned off their lights during the war. They were not switched back on until 1949.

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They have since been turned off during the funerals of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana and for environmental campaigns, while also suffering the occasional power cut.

Perrier was the first brand to appear in lights on Piccadilly Circus in 1908, while Coca-Cola has been a fixture on the corner of Regent Street and Piccadilly since 1954.

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