Last week we had our independent visit week where we had to explore the area around elephant and castle in particular the Walworth area and the entrepreneurial side to it . Walworth is a district of Southwark in the south of London.
In Elephant and Castle is a small hub of entrepreneurs, the Elephant Artworks. There are restaurants and shops which have a very hip and up and coming vibe to it. It seems like an oasis in a neighbourhood has an old look to it. Start-ups can bring life to an area and bring customers and visitors to places. The space is excluding itself from everything else and offering a small court yard within. Entrepreneurs are taking risks by setting up their businesses but it seems to be working out fine by looking at the many customers.
One of the stops was to see East Street market which is visited by local people. It is one of the oldest and largest markets in London, which has been officially running since 1880 but has been a street trading place in Walworth since the 16th Century. Nowadays you can find a wide variety of goods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, jewellery and household products. It is a very lively market which reflects the local community with ethnical diversity. It is a big market in a long street, yet people know each other. That means that people have a strong sense of community and neighbourly behaviour in a city that is often solely focused on its own. Old and young come together to shop and talk to each other. The sellers are entrepreneurs because they choose to be their own boss and run their own little shop. It is more a stall or place where they can display their items than a shop, but it is their own space where they take responsibility. This may reflect on the community in the way that people might not have enough money to rent a steady place to sell things but only for temporarily usage. This might bring in less money but it is also less of a risk.
In Walworth there were many Victorian estate developments. Elephant and Castle was a major transport hub so there was a great development across South London.
After World War II a lot of Victorian homes were replaced with very large housing estates in modernist style such as the Aylesbury. The Aylesbury was built in the 1960/70s. It is now being regenerate to create a stronger and more vibrant community and more quality living. It is like Walworth a very diverse area. There have been major problems with the physical buildings on the estate and the poor perception of estates in Britain. What initially brought content became a place that is not appealing but full of technical problems like heating problems and vandalism.
The Aylesbury was a programme for high-rise public housing but has been seen as a failure of Britain’s housing system for decades. Beckett (2016) speaks of a huge housing disaster and unsolved arguments about class segregation in cities.
It has been a long struggle between the council and the tenants living there whether the buildings should be regenerated or not. Eventually, after years of discussion, it had been decided that the blocks will be replaced by new ones. Some tenants fear was that the estate would be refurbished and the housing prices would rise, attracting richer people.
In 2014, Notting Hill Housing was chosen as Southwark Council’s development partner to complete the Aylesbury regeneration that will deliver 3,500 new homes and reintroduce new gardens and parks to this area that was once common pasture land.
It was interesting to take a closer look at the area and its history and what entrepreneurial life looks like there. Some places already become a place for start-ups but some places need help to develop themselves positively and to create a space for entrepreneurs.
Beckett, A. (2016) The Fall and Rise of the Council Estate. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/13/aylesbury-estate-south-london-social-housing (Accessed: 06.11.16).