Elephant and Castle part 2: memory

January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

From Judith Jones

I remember the housing estates and area around The Elephant and Castle as a grey dull one even in its relatively new state in the late 1970’s. As young nurses we were allowed to apply for one of the council flats on the housing estates; and some of us did. It wasn’t just that they were dreary and dull from the aesthetic of the modernist structures, but when visiting friends you were on your own.

This was a predominantly black area and those flats where friends lived having come to London from the country were well aware of the racism against white people in the late 70’s. Never the less I often used to go to the shopping centre, walking from the bus stop down endless slopes and ramps all identical in their grey metal railings, the weather and pollution hadn’t had the chance to attack the structures yet. The bleakness of the place seemed almost formulaic; it was part of the plan. Under cover of the centre I felt I could hide; from work and life, I was okay.

I haven’t returned to the area since but suspect that even if in a negative sense it would be more colourful; time will have placed its mark and left a scene more atmospheric than the grey identical buildings I remember in the 70’s.

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