This fun and engaging walking tour — led by Elephant and Castle resident and Golden Key Academy graduate Joesph Granata — explores the past, present and future of this extraordinary central London hub which was once known as the ‘Piccadilly Circus of South London’ but has at times since been controversially used as a symbol of urban decay and failed planning.
This walking tour will explore how, despite Elephant and Castle’s central location and unparalleled cultural and architectural riches, the area became unfairly ignored and unloved in the late twentieth century. During this time, the area had a reputation for being an ugly, congested pocket of south London, built around not just one but two busy roundabouts and with a network of dank, pedestrian subways, at the heart of which lay a famously outdated, but nevertheless enigmatic, shopping centre.
This tour will show you that this district — known affectionately as the ‘Elephant’ — is in fact a fascinating, vibrant neighbourhood with a rich history and a promising future, boasting conservation areas, numerous listed buildings, pioneering post-war architecture and striking contemporary developments, all of which surround an ambitious large-scale regeneration scheme which aims to bring the Elephant and its revitalized circus back to town.
Highlights of the tour include Metro Central Heights, the office development designed by the internationally renowned architect Ernő Goldfinger and converted to residential use in 2002, Blackfriars Circus by Maccreanor Lavington which draw influence from historic warehouses of Southwark and Clerkenwell and a new 1-hectare community park designed by Gillespies at the heart of the visionary Elephant Park development.
Providing a safe and fun way for enthusiastic urbanists to explore the city, this tour will explore the architecture and history of this rapidly changing south London area.
Open City is a charity dedicated to making London and its architecture more open, accessible and equitable.
Open City engages all citizens, particularly from under-represented backgrounds, in architecture and city-making. Our programmes – from the Open House Festival and its international network, to our pioneering education projects – open up buildings, conversations and careers to those normally locked out of them.