Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Elephant and Castle

August 28, 2010 · No Comments

Our trip to Elephant and Castle took no more than fifteen minutes. We entered the Tube at Goodge Street, transferred at Charing Cross, and took the Bakerloo Line a few stops to Elephant and Castle. The route was fairly simple and easy to follow. We decided however, that the connecting tunnels are in dire need of shortening, and that there are a few misplaced “Way Out” signs. To return to the hotel, we transferred at Kennington and took the Northern Line straight home to Goodge Street. The ride back was almost identical to the trip getting there.

There were no obvious clues as to why the station was named as it was, so we decided to do a little further investigating. This lead to a rather awkward interview with an Underground employee. When we asked him if he knew why it was named Elephant and Castle, all he did was stare at us with the much dreaded “Stupid Americans” look. The internet proved to be a more helpful and much less embarrassing source. We started out by looking at Wikipedia and discovered that the area was named after a coaching inn. Another site explained that “The Elephant & Castle was once considered the ‘Piccadilly Circus of South London’, but these days it is a centre of student life”. The station’s presence is important because it is a center for South London transport. It seems that mostly local residents make use of the station.

As soon as you exit the Tube, you can see the statue of a red elephant with a castle on its back. It seemed, like many of its surroundings to be worn and run down. Its main purpose seems to be to draw attention to the fact that the area is a historical site. Sadly, we were the only people who seemed to take note of it. Everyone else was too busy or hurried to care.

The people in the area seemed to be of lower socioeconomic class. The street was lively, filled with conversation, and had an odd mixture of run down construction sites and classic architecture. In the far background a shiny, modern skyscraper is visible.

Categories: 2010 Luke · 2010 Sarah

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