An iconic south London shopping centre built in 1965 on a bomb-damaged 1890s estate is being torn down to pave the way for a £1billion town centre regeneration.

It was initially hoped that the three-storey Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in Southwark, which was named after a former 18th century pub in the area, would become a commercial hub for south London, with its 115 shops taken on mostly by local traders.

But, as the capital boomed and swanky indoor shopping malls sprung up city-wide, the 55-year-old shopping arcade which swiftly became redundant – before later falling into disrepair.

Now, Keltbray, a specialist construction and engineering business, is set to demolish the 2.5 acre site entirely, and replace it with a £1billion development, including nearly 1,000 new flats – 116 of which are social rental homes, a new tube station for the Northern Line, and two new university buildings.

One of the site’s best-known features an elephant with a castle on its back – was taken away to be restored, but is set to be put back once construction begins.

When the development is complete, the statue will take pride and place in the new town centre – along with old signage and relics from the shopping centre. 

An iconic south London shopping centre (pictured) built in 1965 on a bomb-damaged 1890s estate is being torn down to pave the way for a £1billion town centre regeneration

An iconic south London shopping centre built in 1965 (pictured right) on a bomb-damaged 1890s estate is being torn down to pave the way for a £1billion town centre regeneration. Pictured left, today

It was initially hoped that the three-storey Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre (pictured) in Southwark would become a commercial hub for south London, with its 115 shops taken on mostly by local traders

The brutish building was first erected in 1965 (right) and not much about its appearance has changed until now – when it is demolished

Diggers demolish the side of the shopping centre to make way for an incoming redevelopment project of flats

Diggers demolish the side of the shopping centre to make way for an incoming redevelopment project of flats

Mangled wiring sprouts from the building's wreckage in Elephant and Castle, south London, where builders work today

Mangled wiring sprouts from the building’s wreckage in Elephant and Castle, south London, where builders work today 

Now, developer Keltbray is set to demolish the 2.5 acre site entirely, and replace it with a £1billion development (an artist's impression of the site, pictured), including nearly 1,000 new flats - 116 of which are social rental homes, a new tube station for the Northern Line, and two new university buildings

Now, developer Keltbray is set to demolish the 2.5 acre site entirely, and replace it with a £1billion development (an artist’s impression of the site, pictured), including nearly 1,000 new flats – 116 of which are social rental homes, a new tube station for the Northern Line, and two new university buildings

One of the site's best-known features an elephant with a castle on its back (pictured in the 1960s) - was taken away to be restored, but is set to be put back once construction begins

The statue in 2018

One of the site’s best-known features an elephant with a castle on its back (pictured in the 1960s, left, and in 2018, right) – was taken away to be restored, but is set to be put back once construction begins

When the development is complete, the statue (pictured in 2012)will take pride and place in the new town centre - along with old signage and relics from the shopping centre

When the development is complete, the statue (pictured in 2012)will take pride and place in the new town centre – along with old signage and relics from the shopping centre

Campaigners have blasted the lack of affordable homes, inexpensive retail space and council housing in the new plans. 

In November, a judge granted permission to appeal Southwark Council’s decision to grant Keltbray planning permission to tear it down. 

Pictures taken at the site show walls pulled down as the demolition begins, with the area blocked off to the public. 

The shopping centre was opened in 1965. The building was constructed on the sight of the Elephant and Castle Estate, built in 1898, which was later damaged by bombs in the Second World War.

The £21million shopping centre was designed to bring Londoners away from the busy roundabout below to carry out their shopping. 

Ray Gunter, then-minster of labour, unveiled the iconic statue of an elephant carrying a castle on its back which was taken from a since-demolished pub.

The shopping centre was constructed on the bomb damaged site of the former Elephant and Castle Estate - which was originally built in 1898. Pictured: The scene at Gurney Street, New Kent Road after air raids during the Second World War

The shopping centre was constructed on the bomb damaged site of the former Elephant and Castle Estate – which was originally built in 1898. Pictured: The scene at Gurney Street, New Kent Road after air raids during the Second World War

Once an eyesore... pictures lay bare the demolition work being done on the Elephant and Castle shopping centre

Once an eyesore… pictures lay bare the demolition work being done on the Elephant and Castle shopping centre

But, as the capital boomed and swanky indoor shopping malls sprung up city-wide, the 55-year-old shopping arcade (pictured now) swiftly became redundant - before later falling into disrepair

But, as the capital boomed and swanky indoor shopping malls sprung up city-wide, the 55-year-old shopping arcade (pictured now) swiftly became redundant – before later falling into disrepair

Campaigners have blasted the new plans. Pictured: Shoppers browsing wares in the centre last year

Campaigners have blasted the new plans. Pictured: Shoppers browsing wares in the centre last year

In November, a judge granted permission to appeal Southwark Council's decision to grant Keltbray planning permission to tear it down. Pictured: A shop inside the centre

In November, a judge granted permission to appeal Southwark Council’s decision to grant Keltbray planning permission to tear it down. Pictured: A shop inside the centre

The shopping centre was opened in 1965 (a shopper in 1979). The building was constructed on the sight of the Elephant and Castle Estate, built in 1898, which was later damaged by bombs in the Second World War

The shopping centre was opened in 1965 (a shopper in 1979). The building was constructed on the sight of the Elephant and Castle Estate, built in 1898, which was later damaged by bombs in the Second World War

The £21million shopping centre (pictured in 1965) was designed to bring Londoners away from the busy roundabout below to carry out their shopping

The £21million shopping centre (pictured in 1965) was designed to bring Londoners away from the busy roundabout below to carry out their shopping

Ray Gunter, then-minster of labour, unveiled the iconic statue of an elephant carrying a castle on its back which was taken from a since-demolished pub. Pictured: Inside the centre when it opened

Ray Gunter, then-minster of labour, unveiled the iconic statue of an elephant carrying a castle on its back which was taken from a since-demolished pub. Pictured: Inside the centre when it opened

The new plans - which were granted planning permission in 2019 - aim to keep noise and disruption to a minimum throughout construction. Pictured: The centre in 2017

The new plans – which were granted planning permission in 2019 – aim to keep noise and disruption to a minimum throughout construction. Pictured: The centre in 2017

Pictures taken at the site show walls pulled down as the demolition begins, with the area blocked off to the public (pictured)

Pictures taken at the site show walls pulled down as the demolition begins, with the area blocked off to the public (pictured)

Workmen put up fencing around Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in London on September 24, 2020

Workmen put up fencing around Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in London on September 24, 2020

A worker cleans the original Elephant and Castle statue, which formerly stood on the public house of the same name, in 1965

A worker cleans the original Elephant and Castle statue, which formerly stood on the public house of the same name, in 1965

The shopping centre aimed to get Londoners away from the busy road below while carrying out their shopping

The shopping centre aimed to get Londoners away from the busy road below while carrying out their shopping 

The shopping centre (pictured) was opened in 1965. Developers hoped it would become a hub for London shoppers

The shopping centre (pictured) was opened in 1965. Developers hoped it would become a hub for London shoppers

Reza, who has been working at Magic Carpet for 18 years, stands inside his shop at Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre last year

Reza, who has been working at Magic Carpet for 18 years, stands inside his shop at Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre last year

Paul Boissevain, architect for the Willett group of Companies with a model of the Group's plan for the Elephant and Castle shopping centre in 1960

Paul Boissevain, architect for the Willett group of Companies with a model of the Group’s plan for the Elephant and Castle shopping centre in 1960

The demolition process is set to end in the summer of 2021, with construction beginning that year. Pictured: A shop inside the centre

The demolition process is set to end in the summer of 2021, with construction beginning that year. Pictured: A shop inside the centre

Shoppers are seen wandering around the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in 1966. Its 115 shops were taken on mostly by local traders

Shoppers are seen wandering around the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in 1966. Its 115 shops were taken on mostly by local traders

Campaigners (some pictured) have blasted the lack of affordable homes, inexpensive retail space and council housing in the new plans

Campaigners (some pictured) have blasted the lack of affordable homes, inexpensive retail space and council housing in the new plans

Scenes after the explosion near Elephant and Castle in London after the Blitz air raids during the Second World War

Scenes after the explosion near Elephant and Castle in London after the Blitz air raids during the Second World War

The area began life as two villages, Walworth and Newington, but  the name 'Elephant and Castle' came about from a former coaching inn which was established in the area. Pictured: Horse drawn carriages outside the Elephant and Castle inn during the 19th century

The area began life as two villages, Walworth and Newington, but  the name ‘Elephant and Castle’ came about from a former coaching inn which was established in the area. Pictured: Horse drawn carriages outside the Elephant and Castle inn during the 19th century

The new plans – which were granted planning permission in 2019 – aim to keep noise and disruption to a minimum throughout construction.

The demolition process is set to end in the summer of 2021, with construction beginning that year. 

The new Northern line station to be built on the demolished zone is ‘future-proofed for the Bakerloo line extension with significantly enhanced capacity’, local media reports.

Two new structures, one for the University of the Arts London and another for London College of Communication, will be also be built.

Keltbray say the project will bring substantial employment opportunities to the area.

Skills and communities director Holly Price said: ‘As part of our commitment to the community, we will be offering employment opportunities to people living in the local area. 

‘During the demolition phase we have explored ways to provide new roles to local people and are pleased to offer vacancies including demolition labourers, welfare officers, traffic marshals and site administrators.

‘We have also secured funding to deliver training – making it an excellent opportunity for those who are looking for a role within the local area.’

Where did the name ‘Elephant and Castle’ derive from?

The name 'Elephant and Castle' most likely came about from the Worshipful Company of Cutlers – a medieval guild of craftsmen who made swords and knives. Pictured: Traffic at Elephant and Castle in 1922

The name ‘Elephant and Castle’ most likely came about from the Worshipful Company of Cutlers – a medieval guild of craftsmen who made swords and knives. Pictured: Traffic at Elephant and Castle in 1922

The shopping centre, which sits just a stone’s throw away from Elephant and Castle underground station, was constructed on the bomb damaged site of the former Elephant and Castle Estate – which was originally built in 1898.

The former building, which was heavily damaged by bombs during the Second World War, also stood close the former Elephant and Castle Theatre which first opened its doors to the public in 1879 and is now known as The Coronet Theatre. 

Before acquiring its unique name, the area upon which the shopping centre sits was originally known as the village of Newington. 

However the name ‘Elephant and Castle’ came about after a coaching inn, which provided a resting point for people and horses along their travels through south London, was established in the area.

The earliest record of this name in relation to this area appeared in the Court Leet Book of the Manor of Walmouth in 1765. 

It is believed that first landlord of the Elephant and Castle inn chose the name for the building in homage to the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, who were a group of medieval craftsmen who made swords and knives and who previously occupied the site.

The crest for the group, which was granted in 1622, showed an elephant carrying a castle on its back. 

The elephant used in the crest referred to the ivory that was used to make the handles on their expensive swords, cutlery and knives while the castle helped show the sheer size of the elephant, as few Europeans in the Middle Ages would have seen the animal before.

As the medieval trade guild also supplied arms to King Henry V during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, some argue that the elephant with the tower on its back in their crest was a symbol of their support for the country.

However others claim the name was a reference to the time Louis IX of France presented King Henry III with an African elephant as a gift in late November 1254. 

The coaching inn, which was rebuilt in 1816 and again in 1898, was then transformed into a pub and demolished in 1959 ­­­­but the name lived on through the centuries. 

In Walter Besant’s London: South of the Thames, the novelist noted that the area in London acquired its name from the Elephant and Castle coaching inn.

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here