LONDON -- The city's most famous statue, Eros, the Greek god of love, was hoisted from it's perch in Piccadilly Circus Friday for repairs on a broken foot and fractured thigh.
Refurbishing Eros is the first step in a $13.5 million facelift for Piccadilly Circus that was once known as the 'hub of the British Empire.'
The 91-year-old cast aluminum statue, which has attracted generations of both Londoners and tourists, was removed to Edinburgh, Scotland, for restoration work on a broken foot and fractured thigh.
The Eros statue depicts a winged archer with his bow -- the arrow has been missing for some time. It was erected in 1893 not as a god of love but as the Angel of Christian Charity, a memorial to the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury who worked for the abolition of child labor. But the statue quickly became popularly known as Eros.
Piccadilly Circus has been a popular spot for London's down-and-outers, and the statue has been weakened in recent years by unwelcome revellers intent on swinging from his wing.
The city council was so worried about Eros' safety on his trip to Scotland they kept details of his route a secret.
'The statue is priceless. We're taking every possible precaution to preserve it and to make sure it doesn't come to any harm,' a city council spokesman said.
'Whenever Britain has recovered from a catastrophe like the world war we've celebrated at Piccadilly, so Eros symbolizes joy and love for us,' one onlooker said.