Goodbye to the Elephant

The redevelopment of Elephant & Castle is a miserable story of greed, exploitation and corruption, extensively documented by Southwark Notes over the years.

The Heygate estate is now the miserable Elephant Park, and now the shopping centre itself is coming to its end. It is to be demolished and replaced by a shiny new development.

Rest assured this unique community space, with its accompanying market, will be fully incorporated into the building due to replace it.

There’ll be a bingo hall for the old folk, a bowling alley for the young, and the affordable rents will be maintained so independent traders won’t be moved on to somewhere else, or forced to give up their businesses entirely.

Masses of social housing will be built as part of the new scheme. Locals will still be able to come for a cheap bite to eat, some hair accessories, or a gossip.

Old ladies will continue to be allowed to sit around in plastic chairs chatting about this and that. The spirit of the space, crucial in a rapidly gentrifying city, will be cherished, supported and maintained.

Nah, only kidding.

I wasn’t able to make it down for Thursday’s farewell protest, well covered by the Guardian’s Damian Gayle, but cycled down at the weekend to have one last strong Latin American coffee and say my own goodbyes to Europe’s first indoor shopping centre and one of south London’s last substantial working class hubs.

Jenny’s Burgers was cheap and popular. I would guess it was once a Wimpy.
This Colombian cafe-bar definitely was not serving Watney’s.
The new development will not have a bowling alley.
Open soon. Closed.
Will Daddy-o’s Nigerian cooking be found at the new shopping centre?
La Bodeguita.
Nowt more exciting than taking an escalator up to the bingo.
Time for one last coffee.
Will there be anywhere as cheap and hearty as Sundial in the new development?
Forever hairdressing.

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