E&C "deeply unpleasant"

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Sunday 25 March 2007 11.23pm
I'm interested in London history, and like to read books on the subject. One I have seen favourably written up - including by the wonderful Iain Sinclair - is Ed Glinert's The London Compendium. Accordingly, I bought a copy on Saturday, and was having a general browse when I stumbled on the following (p. 383 of the paperback edition), apropos of Elephant and Castle: "A deeply unpleasant part of south-east London, dominated by traffic-choked twin roundabouts."

Mr Glinert isn't, it seems, much inclined to be positive - for instance, he describes West Kensington as "a jumble of seedy hotels, ... depressing flats, and roaring roads, ... notorious for its Rolex watch thieves". But still, this miniature vision of E&C seems hopelessely negative. I won't pretend that I find the E&C shopping centre aesthetically pleasing, but it is useful. Is it other people's experience that E&C is unfairly stigmatized on the strength of rather simplistic images of what it contains?
Sunday 25 March 2007 11.26pm
Hi Longlaner

There was a long thread about Ed Glinert's book and his descriptions of parts of the area last June:


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Sunday 25 March 2007 11.27pm
I've read that book, too. I thought it was rubbish.

(Edited to say, I was just thinking I'd started a thread about it, went to find it, but see James has beaten me to it.)
Sunday 25 March 2007 11.32pm
Around the same time last year a restaurant review by Jay Rayner sparked a long debate about perceptions of the Elephant & Castle v the reality:


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Sunday 25 March 2007 11.54pm
Thanks for pointing this out. My newness as a resident of SE1 (and contributor to this forum) is to blame for the oversight. But I think the point is worth revisiting. Mr Glinert, whose roots are in Dalston (surely only a very distant cousin of Hampstead or Chelsea), seems to have some sort of bias against south of the river, and his comments are hopelessly out of date. I see he conducts walking tours. His vituperative attitude reminds me of the boat tour I overheard (it was loud!), where the self-styled expert guide declared that Tate Modern wasn't worth visiting - "If you've seen modern art, you'll know what I mean".
Monday 26 March 2007 12.10am
I rather enjoy the 'dissing' of south london by north londoners and vice versa. This is as traditional as manzi's and pearly kings and queens - long may it continue. The best response is to smile and allow prejudice to protect us - if only borough market was called elephant and castle market, we would be able to go there on a saturday without having to endure the visiting north siders...
Monday 26 March 2007 7.47am
I agree. Let Mr.Glinert sit snugly at home with his prejudices.

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