Elephant & Castle is a central London neighborhood currently changing as part of a major regeneration program which has already seen the building of the Strata tower and the demolition of the Heygate Estate and its planned replacement with 3,000 homes in Elephant Park.
The name derives from a coaching inn; lodgings at the Elephant are mentioned in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and there are records of meetings of the local manor court at the inn in the 1700s.
Originally known as Newington, the area is shown in the Domesday Book of 1086 to have a church. There were also almshouses built by the guilds of fishmongers and drapers.
The rural nature changed after the building of Westminster Bridge in 1751 and the population grew in Georgian and Victorian times. The railway opened in 1863 and the tube in 1890. In 1861 the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built and remains a prominent landmark.
In the 20th century, the area was popular for shopping and entertainment with department stores, theatres and cinemas. However, it was badly damaged by bombing in World War 2 and in the 1960s large developments took place including the Elephant & Castle shopping centre and residential tower blocks.
Leisure & Amenities
Places to go and things to do:
- Ministry of Sound
- Coronet Cinema
- Escape Plan
- Imperial War Museum
- Southwark Playhouse
- The Castle Leisure Centre
Eating and drinking ideas:
- Mercato Metropolitano
- Mamushka Polish Kitchen & Bar
- Elephant & Castle pub
- Elephant & Castle stations serve mainline Thameslink and Southern trains and the Northern and Bakerloo lines.
- Many bus routes run through the area.
- London South Bank University is based at Elephant & Castle.
- London College of Communication (part of University of the Arts London) is also here.