Named for the coaching inn, the Elephant & Castle, Newington on the site of where a blacksmith and cutler previously stood. Shakespeare mentions “Elephant lodgings” in Twelfth Night which is taken as a reference to the inn.
An elephant with a castle upon its back can be found in imagery from coats of arms to carvings in the choir stalls at Chester Cathedral. The inn still stands today but has been rebuilt several times, most recently at the junction of New Kent Road and Newington Causeway as part of the redevelopment during the 1960s.
The area is currently undergoing massive regeneration that has been delayed several times. Such an historic area that it is the perfect place to explore with an escort.
Shopping in Elephant & Castle
When in London and waiting to find somewhere reasonable to shop, there are few places that are better than the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre that has major high street names such as Boots and WHSmiths as well as a wide variety of Latin American, Caribbean and Polish shops as well as bowling and bingo.
Universities of the Elephant
The Elephant & Castle is a students’ paradise with the Gaunt Street Ministry of Sound, the London South Bank University and the London College of Communication with campuses nearby means that the Elephant benefits with Blackwell’s bookshop and the second-hand bookshop gem that comes in the form of Tlön Books.
Elephant & Castle Landmarks
The most notable landmark in the Elephant is the Metropolitan Tabernacle and was pastored by the notable theologian C H Spurgeon between 1854 and 1892. Founded in 1650, the Baptists who started the church were facing constant persecution as Parliament had banned Baptist meetings.
The original Spurgeon Tabernacle was burned down in 1898 and the replacement building was burned down again during World War II, though the front portico and basement survived both conflagrations.
The Metropolitan Tabernacle hosts not only services for an active congregation, a Sunday school, an online seminary, a school of theology and boasts one of the most stunning façades of any building in the Elephant.