Once hailed as south London's answer to Bath, the Elephant and Castle's reputation has for many years been more ugly duckling than admired swan. Named after a pub, and famous for music halls, Europe's biggest cinema, and a gang that modelled itself on Chicago's violent criminals, it was less well-known for being home to an important group of artists that included Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach. The Elephant reinvented itself more recently as a music and nightclub venue; hip in parts, but not where most people wanted to live; a grimy and gritty place, somewhere only its locals could love. Then along came regeneration, and suddenly unfamiliar words like investment, opportunity, desirable started to be used in the neighbourhood.
I've been guiding the Elephant and Castle for nearly twenty years, and walking around its streets, exploring its history for almost twice that long. Come with me to see behind the fabled roundabouts, the derided shopping centre and find a vibrant and proud community that has had more transformation scenes than any pantomime Cinderella at Christmas.
Meet us at 11 at 103 Borough Road for a walking tour of Elephant and Castle with guide Isobel Durrant.