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Idle Idol: Mascots from around the world

Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle

Pub

The Elephant & Castle Pub

Signs

Indian Restarant logo and close up of Elephant & Castle sign

Elephant & Castle

The red elephant sits proudly at the entrance to a shopping centre in South London with a castle perched on it’s back. The Elephant and Castle is not only a mascot but a road, a tube station, a roundabout, an area, a shopping centre and a pub! The Elephant as it sometimes known is a busy intersection and major public transport hub.

The origin of the name ‘Elephant and Castle’ derives from a crest which represented a craft guild founded in the 13th century, the guild were made up of workers who made knives, scissors and weapons. The expensive items produced by the workers may of used ivory, hence why the elephant was used. The castle on the elephants’ back is a symbol of strength and has it’s origins from elephants in India that had a carriage or howdah which was typically positioned on the elephants’ back and used by hunters or wealthy people. The forge that used the emblem eventually turned into a coaching inn/pub and they kept the sign and name. Before 1750 the area was called Newington but as the importance of the location grew the name Elephant and Castle was adopted. The reason for this was there were several other places in London called Newington such as Stoke Newington and Newington Green.

Elephant and Castle is set for further changes but I imagine the name will stay the same. The area is currently being regenerated with plans to demolish the shopping centre in the year 2014; I’m hoping however that the famous mascot will remain intact.