The Elephant - what do you like about it?

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Monday 12 March 2012 2.56pm
Out of interest, I thought it would be interesting to ask the following simple question:

The Elephant & Castle - what do you like about it?

I ask because The Elephant is often talked about in the negative but with so many long-term locals and also more and more new people coming to live in the area, there must be some nice things to say about it.

I also don't just mean - 'it's near The Tube' or 'It's close to the centre' - more things, such as my own take, that what I like is the domino players in the market or the crazy coloured tiling on the Northern subways. Or I like the assortment of users of the Noodle Bar even if the food is not so great. Or Wetherspoons can be fun some times. Or the oxblood Yerkes tiling of the Bakerloo Line building is still fantastic after all these years! And so on.

Hoping this could be the start of a beautiful thread!
Monday 12 March 2012 3.43pm
For me I suppose it's nostalgia,being allowed to go saturday morning pictures after years of seeing older brothers going,buying my first record at wh smiths and my geometry set when I started secondary the wimpey bar and knickerbockerglories,being an ABC minor (although I preferred the other side),watching my first ever X rated film at the Odeon aged 14 and with some strategically placed "bum fluff",feeling like a geezer cos I got some quarter tips on me new shoes and trying to walk and make the same sound as my Dad,Tesco bombers big an' strong.Alexander Fleming hse,and that bird who lived on the Rockingham OMG she was gorgous.

Sorry for those that wont get that but that's my answer.
Monday 12 March 2012 6.48pm
I like the E&C because it's totally unlike and unlikely. If you say you live in the Elephant you get all sorts of strange looks and raised eyebrows...I LOVE that. So much more interesting than Chelsea. That it's convenient and that the shopping centre is terrific and the tubes and transport are super is a given. But as well as that...it's got EDGE!
Zoe
Monday 12 March 2012 7.04pm
I live the fruit stall next to the bus stop, the stalls down the ramp and the cycle bypass onto new kent road. I also quite like the new road layout on Walworth Road, not sure if that counts.
Monday 12 March 2012 10.00pm
I think there are some great Victorian terraces around the roundabout in the various surrounds...
Monday 12 March 2012 11.35pm
i love quite a few people living/working in the area.
passing through elephant road on weekends, when you'd have people playing football/hanging out/having fun in the park & the cafe & shops buzzing on the other side of the road
the magic point on a heygate walkway (walworth rd entrance)where you go through the noise shield, after which you're in a magic forestland of no urban sounds
the hidden gems such as 56a, fairshares & the walworth garden farm
the polish shop in the shopping centre although they didn't have poppy seeds the last time we went
Monday 12 March 2012 11.40pm
I have lived in the E&C since the late 80s. Not close to it, but actually on one of the roundabouts.

What I like about it, is the fact that it belongs equally to everyone and no-one: it serves a great chunk of South Londoners who come here to shop, eat and drink, and to use it as a transport hub.

There is also a significant presence of students from LLC and SBU and this adds to the diverse atmosphere.

The place is jumping: very vibrant and diverse, anyone can be here without feeling they are a stranger in someone else's neighbourhood. In this respect it is similar to the West End.

Over the last few years, the Elephant has become a focal point for London's Latin American community. Their culture is similar to that found in Southern Europe: they like to hang out and socialize outdoors. This has given the area a cool, easy going vibe: in other parts of London, groups of people congregating in the street is usually bad news...
Monday 12 March 2012 11.55pm
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
I like the E&C because it's totally unlike and unlikely. If you say you live in the Elephant you get all sorts of strange looks and raised eyebrows...I LOVE that.

Absolutely agree with this. I just love it when someone asks where I live, and when I tell them E&C, they say something along the lines of 'Oh, Cath! They sell DRUGS there!' or something equally as daft. It always highlights to me the misguided preconceptions people are happy to drift through life with, without even entertaining the idea of quashing those preconceptions.

I have never felt unsafe or threatened here, I have never felt alone, I have never felt like an outsider. Elephant is all embracing and, alright, it might need a lick of paint here and there, but I genuinely find that quite enchanting. I guess it boils down to the old adage of 'beauty is more than skin deep'.
Tuesday 13 March 2012 7.00pm
I remember when the shopping centre opened - back in 65? - and the novelty of having all those shops under one roof, and going up and down the escalators. When I was a teenager in the 70s I and my schoolfriends would hang out there after school, looking at the makeup in Woolworths, reading the magazines in WH Smiths, looking at the cheap jewellery in Joan's Jewel Box, chatting to boys, buying 10 no6 from the tobacco kiosk and smoking them in the subways etc, until all the shops would shut at 5.30pm and we would get slung out.

I worked in Castle House in the 80s (where the Strata is now) and we would often go to the Pizzeria Castello, and I would do my shopping in the lunch hour.

It was great having 2 cinemas at the Elephant, my great Nan would often meet me from school and we would go and watch a carry on film or some other comedy. The Odeon was lovely - the seats were more comfortable than the ABC/Coronet.

I think it's a fantastic place - noisy, messy, yes - but it's alive with so many different kinds of people all adding their little bit to the busy-ness of the place. Love it.
Tuesday 13 March 2012 7.03pm
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
it's got EDGE!

Was never too sure what 'edge' meant in relation to an area although I hear people say it a lot and it also comes up again and again in brochures for new expensive housing. I imagine it was even in the Metro Central Heights brochure from 1998 alongside other funny adjectives such 'crazy, sexy, cool'. Not sure if The Elephant was every crazy, sexy and cool!
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