Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 14:02 UK
Better times for Elephant & Castle?


Elephant revamp gets the go-ahead

For many people the regeneration of Elephant and Castle cannot happen soon enough.

It is probably best known as a traffic bottleneck and for its a six-lane roundabout, rather than as an attractive visitor destination.

The local shopping centre, dating from the 1960s, has repeatedly been nominated as one of the ugliest buildings in Britain and its crumbling exterior has become a symbol of the area's decline.

Walworth and Newington

In the middle of the last century, the sparsely populated villages of Walworth and Newington were surrounded by fields and open marshlands.

A highway was built from Kent into London and roads emerged to join up with several new bridges over the Thames. The area was becoming an important traffic junction.

In 1641 a blacksmith called John Flaxman set up his forge on an island in the middle of the intersecting roads. He cleverly realised that the constant flow of horse drawn carriages made it an ideal site.

In the middle of the 18th century, the blacksmith was replaced by an inn called the Elephant and Castle and over time the name would become synonymous with the whole area.

Better times

Elephant and Castle

During the 1800s the area would see an exponential rise in its population and it was transformed during the Victorian era from a prosperous suburb to being largely overrun by slums.

Elephant and Castle suffered terribly during the Blitz and would be largely rebuilt over the next two decades.

The high density block estates, office buildings and the shopping centre itself all stem from this period.

All this however is set to change with a £1.5bn plan to regenerate 170-acres of Elephant and Castle over the next 15 years.

Better times could be just around the corner.

Regeneration plan given go-ahead
08 Jul 10 |  London
Elephant revamp to move forward
30 Nov 09 |  London
Clinton praise for London project
19 May 09 |  London
Revamp plans accused of race bias
15 Dec 05 |  London
Massive revamp for the Elephant
20 Feb 04 |  London
Mammoth facelift for the Elephant
15 Jun 03 |  London


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific