I have been meaning to jump off at Elephant and Castle station for a few weeks now. Yesterday I managed to get 11 minutes on platforms 3 and 4 before the departure of the 17.40 to Nunhead.
The area is part way through some serious regeneration. Whilst the Heygate Estate stands, almost empty, the Elephant can’t quite move on. Complete demolition is not due to happen until 2015, yet began last year, so it is in an eerie limbo. Like many film- and videomakers before me, and having lived nearby for most of my life, I am fascinated by this huge estate. No doubt there’s time to make a few more Harry Browns, Attack the Blocks, TV crime dramas and music videos before it is finally pulled down.
The enormous Strata building towers over the other side of platform 1. The ‘cutting edge of ec0-construction’ is one of the first buildings in the world to have wind turbines within its structure. It will house 1000 people. Already a winner of the Carbuncle Cup for ‘ugliest building in the UK’, the Strata looks up to another of London’s newest buildings, the Shard, which will be Europe’s tallest building until the Hermitage Plaza goes up in La Défense, Paris.
I have to say, though, I hadn’t expected to find Elephant and Castle station quite so interesting. I guess I chose a good 11 minutes to spend there. Any longer might have spoilt it.