Dr Who type box on E&C roundabout

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Thursday 3 November 2005 5.48pm
Ever wondered what it was- is it at risk with the new development?

From 2oth Century Society


Michael Faraday Memorial

Elephant and Castle, Lambeth, London SE1
LCC Architects' Department under Rodney Gordon, 1959-61
Listed Grade II

The Michael Faraday Memorial is located in the centre of the North roundabout of the Elephant and Castle gyratory system. A striking steel box with an over-sailing beam and column structure, the building is best witnessed from a car.

Designed by Rodney Gordon in 1959 and completed in 1961, the memorial commemorates Michael Faraday's importance as a scientist and the fact that he was born nearby. The interior of the memorial houses a London Transport transformer for the Northern Line, which passes under the site at Elephant and Castle. Originally envisaged being clad in glass - Gordon wanted to reveal the transformer behind - concerns about vandalism resulted in an early British example of the use of stainless steel as a cladding material.

Despite its avant-garde design and interesting functional element, the memorial has had little impact since its construction. Situated in an inhospitable area and constructed without features of Gordon's design that explained that it was a memorial to Faraday, few people know why it is there. In 1995 an article appeared in the Evening Standard about the Memorial under the headline “But What On Earth Is It?”

In 1996 the memorial gained some publicity through a new lighting scheme, the result of a competition held by BBC televisions children's programme Blue Peter. It was also in 1996 that the monument was listed.

The Elephant and Castle area is to undergo substantial and much needed redevelopment. Planners over-seeing the development are optimistic that the Memorial can be relocated to a more suitable location, ideally to a new public space adjacent to the Faraday museum. The hope for utilising the internal space of the memorial is to house exhibitions or use it as a teaching space. The memorial could also act as a landmark for the museum.

Friday 4 November 2005 10.46am
It would certainly need to be demolished to accomodate the central square plans.

IIRC, the proposals of a year ago suggested that it "may" be moved to a new Faraday Square on Walworth Road, with a new science museum in an adjacent building. It will be intersting to see if this survives escalating building costs on the rest of the Elephant project.
Monday 7 November 2005 10.51am
Good morning,

Just a quick note to say that the Michael Faraday Memorial will definitely be relocated to a new during the area's regeneration. One potential site isa new square pegged for the north side of Wansey Street, but there may be other alternatives depending on different opportunities that may come up.

At present it is underutilised and underappreciated. But we hope that with proper planning and creative input, we can make it a more succesful memorial and piece of public art in the future.


Kura Perkins
Southwark Council's Elephant regeneration team

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