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Decision Summary

This building has been assessed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. The asset currently does not meet the criteria for listing. It is not listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended.

Name: Northern Line Underground Station, Elephant and Castle

Reference Number: 1461144


London Underground Bakerloo Line Station, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6TB

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority
District: Southwark
District Type: London Borough
Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Decision Date: 23-Oct-2018


Summary of Building

An underground station booking hall of about 1965, designed by London Underground staff with later alterations.

Reasons for currently not Listing the Building

The Northern Line Underground Station at Elephant and Castle, mostly of 1965 but retaining some late-C19 and early-C20 fabric, remodelled in the late-C20 and early C21, is not listed for the following principal reasons:

Degree of Architectural interest:

* the Northern Line Underground Station has limited architectural interest and this has been further diminished by incremental alterations and remodelling since its original construction.

Degree of Historic interest: * whilst the Northern Line Underground Station occupies the site of the earliest station building, and has some historic interest as a result, this does not outweigh the extent of alteration.

Degree of Group value:

* although the station is in proximity to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the Michael Faraday Memorial and the former Alexander Fleming House (now Metro Central Heights) (all Grade II) this does not confer special interest on such an altered structure.


The marshy land, known as St George’s Fields was gradually developed in the C18 with a mixture of housing and institutional buildings, as was the area to its east, around Newington Butts, which included the start of the coaching road to Kent. The area became a transport hub in the C19 and was renamed Elephant and Castle, apparently after a coaching inn which stood there. The railway arrived in 1863 and the Underground in 1890 with the Northern Line, which had a ticket hall above ground in the present position. In 1906 the Bakerloo line was added, with a separate ticket hall fronting onto London Road to the north, designed by Leslie Green.

The area became known as the ‘Piccadilly of South London’ in the later C19 and early C20, with a department store, theatre and cinemas, as well as pubs and restaurants. Redevelopment was first considered in the 1930s by the London County Council (LCC), but nothing came of it. Bombing in the war caused much destruction, and the LCC bought up land in the area, initially to provide parking during the Festival of Britain. The area was declared a Comprehensive Development Area (as allowed by the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947) and in 1956 the LCC Planning Committee announced redevelopment over a site extending to thirty acres. A new road layout was implemented in the late 1950s, created to join the many routes which converge here. This involved the demolition of further buildings, including the original Elephant and Castle pub which was set on a triangular island site and the re-siting of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, whose prominent portico was a feature of the area. In all the road junction and feeder roads absorbed roughly five of the thirty acres of the development site. A system of underpasses was a feature of the new plans, aimed at separating pedestrians and traffic. These were intended to be shallow, so as to allow for ramps and not step approaches, and although this required the relaying of service conduits and pipes, to set them below the underpasses, it was decided to leave the underground infrastructure alone, with a new building for the Northern line placed above ground. Newington Butts was widened and two roundabouts were created at the north and south ends of this short road, in a dumbbell-shaped arrangement.

In June 1956 the LCC issued a Pamphlet which gave some background to the project and invited tenders for individual building plots. It contained a block plan, apparently the work of the LCC Planner, Walter Bor, which was not intended to be definitive, but did give a clear idea of the intentions of the planners which was also reflected in the wording. The principal shopping building, on the east of Newington Butts, was intended to be set back from the road, thus forming a concourse for the circulation of shoppers and pedestrians between bus stops. The Northern line underground entry would not be moved, but was expected to be re-clad in a contemporary style. Balancing this on the southern side of the concourse was another low building, perhaps functioning as a restaurant. The main shopping building had four storeys and followed the line of the road in an angled banana shape. Behind it was a large service yard which lapped up against the retained Coronet cinema and the railway viaduct, whose arches gave access for deliveries. Four storeys are shown on the model and estimates were given of 81,500 square feet of retail space at ground floor level and 150,000 square feet for the combined upper levels.

In the event, the building of the shopping centre was decided by a competition in which entries were to be submitted jointly by a combination of developer and architect. The eventual winners were Paul Boissevain (1922-2014) and Barbara Osmond (1922-1975), a team of husband and wife. Their practice had established itself with near-wins in international competitions, including Sydney Opera House (placed third, 1957) and the northern extension to the National Gallery (placed second, 1958-1959). Although they had no direct experience of designing a shopping mall, Boissevain had toured the United States and may well have been aware of the out-of town malls being built there.

The underground station for the Northern Line which opened at Elephant and Castle in 1890 was a domed structure, similar to the station which survives at Kennington (Grade II). The Elephant and Castle station was altered below the surface when the Bakerloo line connected to this point in 1906 and the station was remodelled in 1923-1924 as a result of the Morden extension of the Northern line. The original station was largely demolished in 1965, although the lifts were only replaced in 1983.

The design of a new exterior for the Northern Line Underground station at Elephant and Castle fell outside the remit for the competition to design a new shopping centre in 1960, although it appeared in various interesting permutations in the architects’ designs as a foil to the new, large buildings adjacent to it. Despite these ambitions, and a variety of elegant pavilion designs which appeared amongst the competition entries, the new building appears to have been designed by London Underground staff to fit with the new shopping centre. In the proposal for development of the Elephant and Castle published by the LCC in 1956 (see SOURCES) a new exterior of the station is shown on photographs of a model, but it was not identified as one of the five sites offered for disposal and available on a ground lease. It is described thus: 'The Northern Line underground station will remain in its present position, and a small group of shops is shown to adjoin it. The counterpart building to the south of the site may be found suitable for a business such as that of a restaurant.' A photograph of the shopping centre as it neared completion shows workmen on the roof of the almost-completed underground station building (see SOURCES, Architect & Building News, 29 December 1965). This station design of 1965 extended to the full height of the shopping centre. It was clothed by rectangular cladding panels, placed upright, which emulated the rectangular grid of Hannibal House, the office block which rose behind it. The western side had a portal to the right and horizontal slit windows which lit the booking hall at left with two levels of grilles above this, let into the grid of cladding. The shops which were mentioned in the LCC development pamphlet, were not built. This exterior was reconfigured in 2003, and clad in horizontal metal sheeting with an extended passenger entrance hall, although retaining the earlier, below-ground engineering of about 1890 and the 1920s, and probably a significant part of the structure of 1965.


An underground station booking hall of about 1965, designed by London Underground staff, with additions and alterations of about 2001-2003 by Haverstock Associates.

MATERIALS and PLAN: concrete and metal frame to which rectangular metal plates, laid sideways, have been attached, with a flat, felted roof. The entrance hall has a curved entrance to the north-west corner and, as with the former Butts Public House (not listed), is approached at first floor level as the eastern side rises from the moat which surrounds the shopping centre.

EXTERIOR: the building contains an entrance at the curved north-west corner, and two exits at the south-west corner. A metal-clad canopy projects around the north, west and south sides of the building. Two automated cash tills are let into the western flank of the building. The west side and the upper part of the building, containing lift mechanisms, are blind and clad with metal panels, as before.

INTERIOR: the booking hall has ticket machines along the eastern wall and lift entrances to the south. The exit hall has lift exits to the northern side and turnstiles and barriers to the centre of the floor.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre' in Architect and Building News, (29 December 1965), 1216


National Grid Reference: TQ3197179005

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This copy shows the entry on 02-Jul-2022 at 02:39:24.