The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
Formerly - The Elephant & Castle Hotel / Elephant & Castle Estate
Above - The proposed Elephant & Castle Estate - From the Building News and Engineering Journal of 1898.
The much reviled Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre which opened in 1965 was built on the bomb damaged site of the former Elephant & Castle Estate, originally constructed in 1898. The Building stood almost next door to the former Elephant and Castle Theatre which first opened on the 31st of May 1879 and is today known as the Coronet Theatre.
The Building News & Engineering Journal reported on the proposed Elephant & Castle Estate building in their January the 21st 1898 edition, along with the sketch shown above, saying:- 'This block of buildings is designed to cover the site of the present Elephant and Castle Hotel, together with the shops adjoining. The estate forms an island, which is well known, and is in a very conspicuous position, the headway facing the north, and having a frontage to Newington Butts and Walworth-road of about 80ft., and an average width of 34ft. will be occupied by the new hotel.
The ground floor of the hotel is divided into saloon, luncheon, private and public bars, and the basement has a three-table billiard-room and cellarage accommodation. On the first floor are a double table billiard-room and large dining-room; on the second and third floor fourteen bedrooms and two large sitting-rooms, and on the top floor kitchen and domestic offices and four bedrooms. There is a separate staircase to domestic part.
The other part of the site, which also has about an 80ft. frontage to Newington Butts and Walworth-road, and an average width of about 42ft., and return frontage to Short-street, consists of nine lock-up shops on the ground floor, with basements. The first floor is approached by a fireproof staircase from Newington Butts, and is designed for three suites of offices. The three upper floors have a fireproof staircase, approached from Walworth-road, and planned for eight separate suites of residential flats.
The whole of the floors will be of fireproof construction, and the drainage and sanitary arrangements are to be carried out in the most modern manner, and the whole block lighted by electricity. All elevations are to be faced with cut and gauged red bricks and Portland stone dressings. All columns and piers to the ground floor will be granite, and the facia and cornices to the hotel part will also be of granite. The dome and two smaller turrets will have copper roofs; the sign "Elephant and Castle" will also be gilded copper. Other portions of the roof will be covered with Westmoreland green slates. Mr. H. L. Holloway, of Deptford, is the builder, and the amount of his contract is £36,000. The architect is Mr. John Farrer, of 20, Finsbury-pavement, E.C.'
The above text in quotes was first published in the Building News & Engineering Journal, January the 21st 1898.
The building was damaged by bombs during the war, along with much of the area around it, and in 1965 the new Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre opened on the site, see details below.
Above - A Google StreetView Image showing the site of the former Elephant & Castle Estate / Hotel, and the current Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in 2016. The Coronet Theatre, formerly the Elephant & Castle Theatre, can also be seen in this image. - Click to Interact.
An article from the Illustrated London News of April the 3rd 1965 on the opening of the then new Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
Londoners get new shopping centre at Elephant & Castle
A three-storey shopping arcade, the latest part of the giant Elephant and Castle rebuilding scheme, was opened last week by Mr. Ray Gunter. Minister of Labour. After he had unveiled a bronze statue of an elephant carrying a castle on its back, taken from an old public house which is now demolished, South London shoppers soon thronged the 115 stores, many of them taken by local traders, lining the covered courts. The top floor is roofed with glass, which can be drawn back in sunny weather to provide an open-air concourse. Part of the attraction of this £21 million scheme is that shoppers are moved from the noisy, dangerous traffic circling one of London's busiest roundabouts. The G.L.C. hope that the new Elephant and Castle, once completed, will become the shopping, business and recreation centre for South London.
Above - An article from the Illustrated London News of April the 3rd 1965 on the opening of the then new Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre. - Captions Read: The new shopping centre is dominated by and 11-storey office block. Two basement floors are reserved for cars. One of four natural-lighted courts in the arcade. Bronze elephant and castle taken from an old pub. Escalators take shoppers up the three-storey arcade. South Londoners can shop away from the noisy traffic in over 100 stores in the new section of the rebuilding scheme. - Text and Image from the Illustrated London News of April the 3rd 1965.
Above - The Elephant & Castle shopping Centre in July 2008 - Photo M.L.
The Elephant and Castle area is currently undergoing major redevelopment, eventually the site will be unrecognisable and the much disliked shopping centre will finally be gone. A website featuring all the details and dates for the regeneration can be found here.
You may find the following pages from this site of interest: