“For all its clodhopping architecture and occasional ambience of doom, The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre represents London itself – dreary, colourful, ludicrously juxtaposed, and bloody well unapologetic about it.”
After a long time I had a free lunch break, so I was able to spend an hour on wandering round town, looking for something interesting that would catch my eye. A colleague of mine recommended to explore The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, a quirky mixture of old fashioned 60s shop fronts. It was opened in 1965 and was the first covered shopping mall in Europe. However it has been neglected, and with passing years it has gone to the dogs. So now it is scheduled for demolition and faces re-development. I can understand the need to dispose of not so attractive concrete block, but what will it do to the community? Yes, it is cheap and cheerful, but under its ugly looking skin it has a beating heart. With its peculiar shops and friendly cafes, stalls with exotic food and kiosks with all sorts of things, it is an ideal place for the local people to hang out and watch the day go by.
Change is inevitable. One day the shopping centre will be gone and replaced with a new super modern town centre, full of fancy shops and up-market restaurants, surrounded by luxury apartments. But for now we can enjoy it for what it is. I will definitely make sure it was not my first and last visit to this unique little place.
“The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre is a beautiful beast, let’s make the most of it before they put it to sleep for good.”