The Name, Elephant & Castle

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Lori Holland Saturday 23 February 2002 8.46am
I think it entirely plausible.. incidentally, where did the beautiful huge elephant and castle statue end up.. or has it been replaced? I think it was a bloody cheek that they took it down. Last I heard it was gracing some 'worthy's' estate.. pinching our elephant! What a liberty!
alan d Monday 11 March 2002 4.39pm
Another theory as to the origin of the term Elephant and Castle could relate to the king's menagerie located at the Tower of London. Over the centuries various gifts were given to the monarch by visiting foreign dignitaries. Many of these gifts came with four legs, and included lions, tigers, and the most regal gift of all an elephant. It's understood that the elephant swam in the Thames and was tethered by a chain to stop it swimming away. In the mid 1800's the animals were relocated to the new London zoo at Regent's park. The only creatures at the Tower were of course the Ravens, who, let's hope never leave if the old superstition is to be believed!
The Castle? Well the Tower of London itself. London's own castle.
PS As to the Eleanor Crosses, as far as I am aware the only London one was at Charing Cross, where the equestrian statue of Charles I now stands just in the shadow of Nelson's column.
Lori Holland Monday 18 March 2002 5.11am
Although I go for the Infanta de Castile theory... in my readings I found out that there was once a magnificent (probably diabolical, really) menagerie on land at Manor Park.. it began just in front of Manor Baths and creatures from all over the world were exhibited there. Possibly an Indian elephant with its 'castle/houda' walked around the area as a sort of advertising gimmick.

I also found out that Edgar Allen Poe lived in Newington Butts for a while during his childhood when his father/uncle? was headmaster at a school there.
Bumble Bee Monday 18 March 2002 12.44pm
Re Eleanor crosses, in the Museum of London it says there were two in London - one at Charing Cross and the other somewhere in the city -can't remember where though!
JamesB Tuesday 19 March 2002 3.58pm
Cheapside I think
The Hotstepper Tuesday 23 July 2002 4.02pm
The Elephant and Castle got it's name when Hannibal crossed the Alpes to attack Rome. It is said that he decided to take a detour through England , stopping off at London to attack a few Romans as practice for the huge battle ahead.
Dave Zen Thursday 28 November 2002 9.48pm
A good flight of fancy here mate when you speak about Hannibal.
But here's some history that put's the joke out of the window.
Hannibal. (247 BC- Bithynia 182 BC), Carthaginian general, leader of the famous march across the Alps. These are the dates of when the first Romans came here. Personaly I think that the Hannibal was inventing the game of Football so that the Italians & the Spanish could have a long history of practice for when the met the ancient Brits first eleven.
Roman Britain - the Roman Invasion
Caesar's Summer Vacation. In 55 B.C. Julius Caesar, then general of the Roman armies in Gaul, decided that it would be a good move to try a little summer invasion of Britiain. It may have been a move intended to gain prestige back home in Rome, but it was a move that made sense. The Celts in Gaul had been receiving aid from their close relations in southern England. British Celts may even have fought with related tribes in Gaul against the Romans. Certainly J. C. complained that defeated Gauls would slip away to Britain to regroup. Tackling the British Celts made sense in the battle to secure Gaul for Rome.

Caesar's invasion proved successful but inconclusive. Landing in present day Kent, he did battle with several tribes that summer, and did very well, thank you. The following summer he returned for more, easily defeating the first real historical British figure we know of, King Cassivellaunus. Remember that British "kings" at this time were really no more than tribal chiefs. There was no such thing as a unified "Britain", and there was no such thing as a unified Celtic army to meet the Roman advance.

Julius Caesar left after two summers fighting, exacting a promise of tribute from the defeated tribes, but it was not for another century that Rome would try to extend its influence in England. In the meantime, however, the contacts between the Roman Empire and Celtic England grew. Trade flourished, and it is suggested that some Celtic princes were sent to Rome to be educated.

One important social change that occurred at this time was that kingship became hereditary, rather than a post awarded to the best war leader. This change was to have disastrous consequences; several princes fled to Rome to appeal for help in succession squabbles. Rome was happy to use this as a convenient excuse for invasion.

The Pretext. In 43 A.D. Claudius became Emperor of Rome. Needing a public relations coup to secure his tenuous position (nothing ever changes in politics, does it?) he decided to revive the dream of expanding the Empire to the British Isles. The pretext was conveniently provided by Caratacus, king of the Catavellauni tribe. Caratacus invaded the territories of the Atrebates, whose king, Verica, fled to Rome and appealed for help. Claudius was quite happy to respond.

Britain was regarded with some mystical awe by the Romans, and at first Claudius' troops, 40,000 of them, refused to disembark from the invasion boats. Once they screwed up their courage, however, they made a good job of it, sweeping up from the landing place at Richborough in Kent in a three pronged attack. We know more about the southern prong, at least partly because it was commanded by a future Emperor of Rome, Vespasian.
Dave



D Benn
Shawn St.Clair Sunday 21 March 2004 4.01am
I have a thought regarding where the name Elephant & Castle came from (albeit a very odd theory). Could it be possible that the name came from chess pieces? The castle is an obvious choice of course, but the elephant was the original name for the bishop piece from its origins in India. That's what came to mind when I came across the name in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (when Mr. Weasley mentioned there were "regurgitating toilets" in Bethnal Green and Elephant & Castle).



Perfection is subjective.
Sunday 21 March 2004 8.15am
As far as I know (and that's a very short distance) according to the earliest known recorded sources there has always been a tavern in that area called The Elephant And Castle. Unless another (primary)source turns up, your guess is as good as mine with regard to how that tavern got its name.
The Lady Miss Jo Jo Sunday 21 March 2004 1.32pm
According to Quinion, it is derived from the cutlers' company, as James originally said. This website is a great source of info.
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