|Elephant and Castle|
Statue at the Elephant & Castle tube station
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SE1, SE11, SE17|
The Elephant and Castle is an area around a major road junction in south London, England, in the London Borough of Southwark. The name also informally refers to much of Walworth and Newington, due to the proximity of the London Underground station of the same name. The name is derived from a local coaching inn. In the first half of the 20th century, because of its vitality, the area was known as "the Piccadilly of South London".
"The Elephant", as locally abbreviated, consists of major traffic junctions connected by a short road called Elephant and Castle, the nascent part of the A3. Traffic runs to and from Kent along the A2 (New Kent Road and Old Kent Road), much of the south of England on the A3, to the West End via St George's Road, and to the City of London via London Road and Newington Causeway at the northern junction. Newington Butts and Walworth Road adjoin the southern junction. The whole junction forms part of the London Inner Ring Road and part of the boundary of the London congestion charge zone.
The subterranean River Neckinger, which originates from the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park area, flows east directly under the area towards St Saviour's Dock where it enters the Thames.
The area was significantly remodeled in the 1960's as part of the post-war reconstruction. A new and major wave of redevelopment was initiated in the late 2000's with the demolition of the brutalist Heygate Estate. The various phases of the project are due to last until the late 2020s. The demolition of the shopping centre and The Coronet started in early 2021.
The Elephant has two linked London Underground stations, on the Northern and Bakerloo lines, and a National Rail station served by Southeastern (Kentish Town to Sevenoaks via Catford) and Thameslink (suburban loop to Sutton and Wimbledon), and other Thameslink services to Kent.
Skipton House, home of Public Health England; a large part of the London South Bank University campus; the London College of Communication (part of UAL), home to the Stanley Kubrick Archive; the Ministry of Sound nightclub; the Imperial War Museum, which sits in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park; the Michael Faraday Memorial; the Siobhan Davies Studios, an award winning Victorian school conversion by Sarah Wigglesworth; West Square; the original Bakerloo Line depot; the Inner London Crown Court; the Revolving Doors Agency; the London School of Musical Theatre; the Baitul Aziz Islamic Cultural Centre, the Cinema Museum; and the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The Cuming Museum is nearby on Walworth Road. A K2 model phone box from 1927, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott and located on the southern side of the New Kent Road, which was moved a few metres and reinstalled at the entrance of Ash Avenue in 2021, is a Grade II listed structure since 1986.
The name "Elephant and Castle"is derived from the name of a pub/coaching inn located at this major crossroad.The earliest surviving record of this name in relation to this area appears in the Court Leet Book of the Manor of Walworth, which met at "Elephant and Castle, Newington" on 21 March 1765.
Previously the site was occupied by a blacksmith and cutler – the crest of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers features an elephant with a castle (representing a howdah) on its back, which in turn was used because of the use of elephant ivory in handles; this association with the Cutlers is considered a far more likely explanation for the name.
The inn was rebuilt in 1816 and again in 1898, and the present Elephant & Castle pub, at the junction of New Kent Road and Newington Causeway, was part of 1960s comprehensive redevelopment.
Newington, which was the name of the village forming the basis to the neighbourhood before the inn's name took over, is a common place name in England.London quickly expanded into the northern parts of the parish from 1750 to 1830. By the end of the 19th century ten daughter parishes had arisen in Newington including its secondary manor, Walworth. No notable upper, lower, or hill parts of the ancient parish nor compass points have been used, so to locate businesses and homes without reference to traditional saints divisions, many people popularised the informal name, of the notable public house. Other instances in Inner London are 'Angel' at Islington and Bricklayers Arms at the east end of New Kent Road.
The popular and enduring idea that the inn itself derives its name from an English corruption of the phrase "La Infanta de Castilla", as a reference to Eleanor of Castile, has been debunked by local historian Stephen Humphrey in his 2013 book Elephant and Castle, a History.
After examining how the image of an elephant with a castle on its back has been popular for centuries and throughout Europe (the earliest example predating Queen Eleanor by 1,500 years), and pointing out the fact that the sign only begins to be used in the area about 500 years after Eleanor was alive, he states: "The story of Queen Eleanor in relation to the Elephant and Castle is therefore a myth. It is wildly anachronistic both in respect of the sign in general and in its specific use in Newington, and she has no connection with the sign or with the place."
Known previously as Newington (Newington Butts and Newington Causeway are two of the principal roads of the area), in the medieval period it was part of rural Surrey, in the manor of Walworth. This is listed in the Domesday Book as belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury; the income from its rents and tithes supplied the monks at Christ Church Canterbury with their clothing, and a 'church' is mentioned.The parish was called St Mary, Newington, which church occupied the southwest side of today's southern roundabout, near the Tabernacle, and was first recorded by name in 1222.
In May 1557, William Morant, Stephen Gratwick and a man named King, known as the Southwark Martyrs, were burnt at the stake in St George's Field on the site of the present Tabernacle during the Marian Persecutions.
St Mary's Church was rebuilt in 1720 and completely replaced in 1790, to a design of Francis Hurlbatt. Within another hundred years this too was to be demolished, with its replacement on Kennington Park Road ready in 1876.It was destroyed by bombing in 1940 during the Second World War. The remains of the tower and an arch were incorporated into its replacement of 1958. The open space is still known as St Mary's Churchyard, and the narrow pedestrian walk at its south end is Churchyard Row.
There is record of a 'hospital' before the Reformation. In 1601 the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers erected St Peter's Hospital on the site of the present London College of Communication. This expanded and survived until 1850, when it was removed to Wandsworth. The Drapers' livery company created Walters' Almshouses on a site now at the southern junction island in 1640, giving the tower block opposite the name Draper House. The almshouses were relocated to Brandon Street in the 1960s as part of the major redevelopment.
The neighbourhood became urbanised and somewhat commercial after the building of Westminster Bridge in 1751 and the improvements to London Bridge in the same period. These required 'by-pass' roads across the south side approaches to each other and also to the main routes to the south and southeast coasts. These road improvements – Great Dover Street, Westminster Bridge, New Kent Road, St George's Road and Borough Road – connect to the older Kennington and Old Kent Roads to facilitate this traffic. In 1769 the new Blackfriars Bridge was connected to this system at what is now St George's Circus and Blackfriars Road (originally Great Surrey Road) and to the Elephant junction with the new London Road. As a result of these improvements, the area became a built-up part of the metropolis during the late Georgian and Victorian periods.
The railway arrived here in 1863 and the first deep-level tube line, now part of the Northern line's City Branch, in 1890. The Bakerloo line terminus was created in 1906.The middle-class and working-class populations increased, the first settling on the major roads, the latter on the streets behind these. The area declined socio-economically in much of the Walworth (south-east) side as work in London Docklands shifted further east and became more mechanised, and the regional-level railway yard work decreased (see Bricklayers Arms railway station).
In the 19th century the nationally famed Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon built the Metropolitan Tabernacle here.The building, designed by William Willmer Pocock, was finished in 1861 and dedicated on 18 March. It was bombed in the bombing of London but the portico and basement survived. In 1957 the tabernacle was rebuilt to a new, much smaller design, accommodating surviving original features.
The Theatre Royal was built in 1872 and destroyed by fire only six years later. Renovations were initiated by Jethro Thomas Robinson after the fire, and completed by Frank Matcham, to what became the Elephant and Castle Theatre in 1879. The Theater was converted to an ABC cinema in 1928, and became The Coronet Cinema in 1981.
During the late 19th century there was a cemetery in the vicinity,but it was built over during London's rapid expansion. A few gravestones remain in St. Mary's Churchyard. At the north side of the churchyard, the church of St Gabriel's Newington was built in 1874 before being demolished in 1937 on what is now a walkway called St Gabriel Walk.
The area became the location for a thriving shopping area, known as "the Piccadilly (Circus) of South London",with its own department store (William Tarn and Co) and many smaller outlets. Also featured were a shoe factory, a branch of Burton and a renowned hatter.
In 1930, the Trocadero, a monumental neo-Renaissance style picture house seating over 3000 and fitted with the largest Wurlitzer organ imported to the United Kingdom, was built at the northern corner of the New Kent Road (a plaque commemorating the building was unveiled in 2008 by Denis Norden, who had worked there in his youth).This was replaced in 1966 by a smaller cinema (the Odeon, known for a time after closure as an Odeon in 1982 as the Coronet, not to be confused with the Coronet below) which was demolished in 1988.
In 1932, another cinema opened across the street, The Coronet. It is now mostly used as a night-club and concert venue.At the time it seated over 2000 people, and was an art-deco conversion of the Elephant and Castle theatre, opened in 1879 on the site of the short-lived Theatre Royal (built in 1872 and burnt down six years later). It was reconstructed in 1882 and again in 1902.
One monument to cinema still remains just off the Elephant, the Cinema Museum is a volunteer-run museum with screenings of classic cinema and a vast collection of cinema memorabilia. It is located in the old workhouse where Charlie Chaplin spent time as a child.
The Elephant was the centre of the target zone for the German air raids on London on 10 May 1941 and suffered "raging fires".
The major development of the 1960s consisted of post-war reconstruction to a larger metropolitan plan, much of it replacing properties destroyed by bombing in World War II and creating two infamous roundabouts,
The Metropolitan Tabernacle was reconstructed behind its preserved classical facade to a smaller scale than the original. Alexander Fleming House (1959), originally a group of government office blocks and now Metro Central Heights residential complex, is a prime example of the work of the Hungarian modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger.
The shopping centre, designed by Boissevain & Osmond for the Willets Group, was opened in March 1965. It was the first covered shopping mall in Europe,with 120 shops on three levels and a two-storey underground car-park. In the sales brochure (1963), Willets claimed it to be the "largest and most ambitious shopping venture ever to be embarked upon in London. In design planning and vision it represents an entirely new approach to retailing, setting standards for the sixties that will revolutionise shopping concepts throughout Britain." When it opened, budget restrictions meant that the proportions and finishes of the building had had to be scaled down and only 29 out of a possible 120 shops were trading. The demolition of the shopping centre and The Coronet started in early 2021.
The Elephant is the location of the London College of Communication, formerly the London College of Printing, an internationally renowned dedicated college, part of University of the Arts London. The present structure was constructed during the redevelopment of the area in the early 1960s. It is slated for demolition in the mid 2020s, when the college is due to move to a new campus being built on the site of the Coronet Theatre.
In 1974 the Brutalist Heygate Estate, designed by Tim Tinker,was completed. It was home to more than 3,000 people. The estate was once a popular place to live, the flats being thought light and spacious, but the estate later developed a reputation for crime, poverty and dilapidation. It was demolished in the 2010s and replaced with the Elephant Park development, which, the developer claimed, includes "the largest new green space to be created in London for 70 years."
Perronet House, an award-winning residential block owned by Southwark Council, was designed by Sir Roger Walters. It was completed in 1970 and extended in 1987.
At the south of the area, stood Castle House (an office building now replaced by Strata SE1), which was part of the Draper Estaste. When Draper House, which still exists, was built in 1964, with its 25 floors, it was the tallest structure in London. The design was by Hubert Bennett of the London City Council’s (LCC’s) Architects Department and inspired by Le Corbusier. Well regarded at the time, the building was featured in Architecture Review which said it, ‘sets a standard of clarity and vigour’.
In recent times the area has had a reputation for successful ethnic diversity and centrality. The area's proximity to major areas of employment, including Westminster, the West End and the City, has meant that a certain amount of gentrification has taken place.
From the mid-2000s, the area became the subject to a master-planned redevelopment budgeted at £1.5 billion. A Development Framework was approved by Southwark Council in 2004. It covers 170 acres (688,000 m²) and envisages restoring the Elephant to the role of major urban hub for inner South London that it occupied before World War II.
A substantial amount of post-World War II social housing that is deemed to have failed has been demolished, including the Heygate Estate, replaced with developments consisting of a mix of social and private-sector housing and a green space, Elephant Park, giving its name to the whole development. This portion of the site is being developed by Lend Lease. There have also been moves to protect the last of the architecturally important tenement blocks nearby through the creation of a conservation area covering the Pullens buildings.
Locally, tall, mainly residential buildings have been approved or are under construction since the 148-metre Strata SE1 tower was completed in 2010. These include:
Southwark Council opened the new Castle leisure centre in 2016. This replaced the original Castle centre, which closed in 2012.
In 2015,the new owners of the shopping centre, Delancey, announced redevelopment plans for a new "town centre", which is due to be completed by the mid-2020s. The project is in two phases. The first aims to replace the existing shopping centre and the Coronet Theatre, and comprise:
Once the first phase is completed, the current site of the LCC is to be redeveloped to host residential towers and a live-music venue.
In February 2014, a small shipper-container precinct on three levels, inspired by the Boxpark concept, was put together at the corner of the Walworth Road and Elephant Road. Baptised The Artworks, the venue hosted small start-up businesses and a library.The project was closed and demolished in 2019.
London's Latin American population, prominent from this zone to Stockwell, has been an inspiration to aspects of the regeneration. Plans are being made for shops and artwork to emphasise a Latin American corridor.
In December 2018, it was announced that London Mayor Sadiq Khan had approved redevelopment plans, and that Southwark Council had too, after changes to proposals to ensure more windows in the shopping centre, 350 out of 1000 homes for rent at "genuinely affordable levels" and for traders in the current centre with rents capped for 15 years.A judicial review of the decision was finally lost by campaigners in May 2021.
In January 2020, a closure date was set for the centre of 30 July 2020.The closure date was postponed to 24 September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The centre will be redeveloped despite public opposition. Demolition of the shopping centre, Hannibal House and the Coronet theatre started in January 2021.
Elephant & Castle tube station serves the area.
The station is served by Northern line trains on the Bank branch, linking the area directly to the City, and destinations such as London Bridge, King's Cross St Pancras, and Camden Town to the north. Southbound trains travel towards Morden via key destinations such as Kennington, Clapham, and South Wimbledon and Battersea following the opening of the line's extension from Kennington as of the Autumn of 2021.
The station is the southern terminus of the Bakerloo line, which runs northbound to Harrow and Wealdstone. The line links the area to Waterloo, the West End, Paddington, Willesden, and Wembley Central along the way.
The station is on the boundary between London fare zones 1 and 2.
Transport for London (TfL) is proposing to extend the Bakerloo line southwards from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham. The line would run beneath Old Kent Road.
Elephant & Castle railway station is served by Southeastern and Thameslink trains, which serve destinations across London, the South East, and East Anglia. Key destinations include Ashford International, Bedford, Dover Priory, London Blackfriars (in the City), Luton and Luton Airport ( ), St Albans City, St Pancras International, Sutton, and Wimbledon.
The station is on the boundary between London fare zones 1 and 2.
Elephant & Castle is served by London Buses routes 1, 12, 35, 40, 45, 53, 63, 68, 133, 136, 148, 155, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 196, 333, 343, 344, 360, 363, 388, 415, 453, 468, C10, P5, N1, N35, N63, N68, N89, N133, N155, N171 and N343.
TfL and the London Borough of Southwark maintain cycling infrastructure in the area.
In 2014 the northern junction was "Britain’s highest cycle casualty roundabout",.
Elephant and Castle is the southern terminus of Cycleway 6 , which runs northwards to Blackfriars, Farringdon, Bloomsbury, and King's Cross. The cycleway runs unbroken and signposted along the entirety of its route. The section between Elephant and Castle and Farringdon runs along traffic-free bike freeway. The northern terminus of C6 is in Kentish Town.
Cycle Superhighway 7 passes north-south through Elephant and Castle. The route is signposted and carries cyclists from Elephant and Castle northbound to the City, via Southwark Bridge. Southbound, the route runs without interruption to Collier's Wood, via Kennington, Clapham, and Tooting.
A shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists runs alongside New Kent Road east from Elephant and Castle, which links the area to the nearby Bricklayer's Arms.
The Santander Cycles bicycle-sharing system operates in Elephant and Castle.
Elephant and Castle is a busy road junction. The London Inner Ring Road passes through the junction. The A3 also passes through the junction, which carries traffic between the City and destinations such as Kennington, Clapham, Gatwick Airport ( ), and Portsmouth.
Air pollution from road traffic in Elephant and Castle has significantly improved in recent years. In 2015, Elephant and Castle exceeded the UK government legal limit on Nitrogen Dioxide, with the local borough recording an annual mean concentration of 41 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m^3). In 2017, this figure was 34μg/m^3, below the legal limit, and in 2018, the figure was 32μg/m^3. The limit set by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs is 40μg/m^3.
The Elephant was to have been served by the Cross-River Tram,which was cancelled in 2008 due to budgetary constraints.
In 2010, the southern roundabout was converted to traffic light operation, with the creation of new cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings.This included the removal of the pedestrian subways, described as "unpopular and imtimidating" by a local councillor.
However, in 2014 the Elephant & Castle junction was still "Britain’s highest cycle casualty roundabout",prompting a TfL proposal to remove the northern roundabout as part of a £4bn package of road improvements targeting cyclists' safety. TfL implemented its proposal in 2015, connecting the roundabout island to the shopping centre, thereby creating a new public space called Elephant Square.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Fanny Cornforth, who apparently took her nickname "elephant" from the place,as well as Elizabeth Siddal, Samuel Palmer, George Tinworth, Robert Browning, Sarah Wardroper and Octavia Hill are also thoughts to have lived in the area.
Newington may refer to several places:
The London Borough of Southwark in south London forms part of Inner London and is connected by bridges across the River Thames to the City of London and London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It was created in 1965 when three smaller council areas amalgamated under the London Government Act 1963. All districts of the area are within the London postal district. It is governed by Southwark London Borough Council.
Newington is a district of South London, just south of the River Thames, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It was an ancient parish and the site of the early administration of the county of Surrey. It was the location of the County of London Sessions House from 1917, in a building now occupied by the Inner London Crown Court.
Walworth is a district of south London, England, within the London Borough of Southwark. It adjoins Camberwell to the south and Elephant and Castle to the north, and is 1.9 miles (3.1 km) south-east of Charing Cross.
New Kent Road is a 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) road in the London Borough of Southwark. The road was created in 1751 when the Turnpike Trust upgraded a local footpath. This was done as part of the general road improvements associated with the creation of Westminster Bridge; in effect it was possible to travel from the West End/ Westminster to the south-east without having to go via the Borough of Southwark but could now cross St George's Fields to the junction of Newington Causeway and Newington Butts which is where New Kent Road starts at Elephant and Castle. The route runs eastward for a few hundred yards to the junction of Great Dover Street and Tower Bridge Road, known as Bricklayers Arms, where it joins the original route to the south-east Old Kent Road.
Elephant & Castle is a London Underground station in the London Borough of Southwark in south London. It is on the Bank branch of the Northern line between Kennington and Borough stations, and is the southern terminus of the Bakerloo line, the next station being Lambeth North. The station is in both Travelcard Zones 1 and 2. The Northern line station was opened in 1890 by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) while the Bakerloo line station was opened sixteen years later by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR). There is out-of-station interchange with the nearby Elephant & Castle National Rail station.
Old Kent Road is a major thoroughfare in South East London, England, passing through the London Borough of Southwark. It was originally part of an ancient trackway that was paved by the Romans and used by the Anglo-Saxons who named it Wæcelinga Stræt. It is now part of the A2, a major road from London to Dover. The road was important in Roman times linking London to the coast at Richborough and Dover via Canterbury. It was a route for pilgrims in the Middle Ages as portrayed in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, when Old Kent Road was known as Kent Street. The route was used by soldiers returning from the Battle of Agincourt.
East Street Market also known locally as 'The Lane', or 'East Lane', is a street market in Walworth in South London.
The Cuming Museum in Walworth Road in Elephant and Castle, within the London Borough of Southwark, London, England, was a museum housing the collection of the Cuming family and later collections on Southwark's history. As of 2020, its collections are due to be rehoused in a new Southwark Heritage Centre.
St George's Circus is a road junction in Southwark, London, England. At its centre, which is now a traffic roundabout, is an historic obelisk, designed by Robert Mylne (1733–1811), in his role as surveyor and architect of Blackfriars Bridge.
London Road is a road in Southwark, Central London, England, which connects St George's Circus (northwest) and the Elephant and Castle roundabout (southeast). To the east is the campus of London South Bank University including the Technopark building and the London Road Building, in a triangle formed by London Road, Borough Road and Newington Causeway. At the southeastern end is the Elephant and Castle tube station.
Newington Causeway is a road in Southwark, London, between the Elephant and Castle and Borough High Street. Elephant & Castle Underground station is at the southern end. It follows the route of the old Roman road Stane Street.
Newington Butts is a former hamlet, now an area of the London Borough of Southwark, that gives its name to a segment of the A3 road running south-west from the Elephant and Castle junction. The road continues as Kennington Park Road leading to Kennington; a fork right is Kennington Lane, leading to Vauxhall Bridge. Michael Faraday was born in Newington Butts.
The Michael Faraday Memorial is a monument to the Victorian scientist Michael Faraday. It is located at Elephant Square in Elephant and Castle, London, England.
SouthwarkCentral was a borough constituency returning a single Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom through the first past the post voting system. The constituency was a very compact and urban area, and was one of three divisions of the Parliamentary Borough of Southwark, which was identical to the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark, in South London. The creation of the constituency was recommended by the Boundary Commission in a report issued in 1917, and formally created by the Representation of the People Act 1918. It came into existence at the 1918 general election.
The A215 is an A road in south London, starting at Elephant and Castle and finishing around Shirley. It runs through the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Croydon.
Bricklayers Arms is the road intersection of the A2 and the London Inner Ring Road where Bermondsey meets Walworth and Southwark in south London. It is the junction of Tower Bridge Road, Old Kent Road, New Kent Road and Great Dover Street. It comprises a four-way green roundabout plus one-way flyover and one-way bypass lane.
Elephant & Castle railway station is a National Rail station in Newington, south London. Along with the London Underground station of the same name, it is located in the London Borough of Southwark and is in both Travelcard Zone 1 and 2. The station is managed by Thameslink, with services operated by both Thameslink and Southeastern. There is out-of-station interchange with the nearby Elephant & Castle tube station.
The Bakerloo line extension is a proposed extension of the London Underground Bakerloo line in South London from its current terminus at Elephant & Castle to Lewisham station.
The Heygate Estate was a large housing estate in Walworth, Southwark, South London comprising 1,214 homes. The estate was demolished between 2011 and 2014 as part of the urban regeneration of the Elephant & Castle area. Home to more than 3,000 people, it was situated adjacent to Walworth Road and New Kent Road, and immediately east of the Elephant & Castle road intersection. The estate was used extensively as a filming location, due in part to its brutalist architecture.
The most famous pub of this name has long been demolished, but the area of London where it once stood is still known as the Elephant. [...] In the Middle Ages the elephant was regularly linked with the 'castle' both in the written descriptions in Bestiaries and in visual art, e.g. in church carvings.
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