Walking the Elephant Saturday 22nd March

All being well, I shall be leading Terra Incognita this Saturday morning at 10.45. It’s a walk around the Elephant and Castle that I devised some years ago. Uou may drive through th Elephant and shudder, but there is far more to it than meets the eye. The Heygate state, now being demolished has probably had more media exposure in the last few months than in the rest of its comparatively short life. Love it or hate it, Strata can be seen from across London. Away from the roundabouts, things are quieter; neighbourly. And as for Latin London, the Elephant is its heart.

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Round About the Box

Next Saturday I shall be one of four people telling alternative histories and stories about the Faraday Memorial at the Elephant and Castle with artist Mark Wayman. You may know the thing I’m talking about, the Grade II listed 1959 silver box that houses a London Underground substation.
I was sent a flyer about it by email today.

Fort da Solus

Fort da Solus

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Regenerating the Elephant

We were so lucky with the weather for the Elephant and Castle walk yesterday. And I was lucky to have such a nice group of people for the walk. Thanks everyone who came along.
It’ll be on again later in the year, see https://londonbyguide.wordpress.com/dates-for-your-diary/ for details.
As some of you know, the Elephant is undergoing regeneration. It is actually the biggest urban regeneration project ever in Europe. Initially Norman Foster was involved. There were plans for low rise terraces, art galleries, piazzas (I call them squares, but there you go), an amphitheatre. All the pictures of the plans showed people sitting outside in sunny weather. Winter was to be banished from the Elephant and Castle for ever. Then the recession struck, and the budget was scaled dowm. The big name architects who promised high quality, imaginative buildings dropped out of sight. Instead we got Strata, aka the Electric Razor, which opened in April 2010 and received the Carbuncle Award later that year.

Strata

Strata

Just up the road the Shard was built.
Shard

Shard

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Terra Incognita aka The Elephant and Castle Walk

Next Saturday afternoon I’ll be Walking the Elephant. It’s a public walk so anyone can join me for a couple of hours in one of London’s most derided neighbourhoods.
If all you know of the Elephant and Castle is a dodgy explanation of how it got its name, or the view of the roundabouts from the top deck of the 53 bus, this walk will surprise you. I promise.
Victoran Grim

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Walking the Elephant

My next local, public walk will be 2nd March around the Elephant and Castle. Reviled as one of the least attractive areas of London, the Elephant is far more than two roundabouts and a major traffic hub. Just yards from the busy roads you will find more than one surprising oasis of calm. And change has come to the Elephant. The old swimming baths have gone; the Mayor of London is considering granting permission for a tower block on the site of Eileen House, opposite the Ministry of Sound, which might well sound the death knell for this globally renowned club; local people are locked in debates about how they want their neighbourhood to develop. Meanwhile investors have woken up to the good communications and central location of the Elephant. Continue reading