Danger, Danger - High Voltage!
'But what the fuck is it?'
| story filed by:|| onionbag blogger|
A popular South East London phrase than can be heard most days as commuters pass through the Elephant & Castle northern roundabout and marvel at the aluminium box of tricks that stands firm in the centre of the gyratory system.
Rumours range from the conspiracy of 'something nuclear' to the absurd urban myth that it is actually the home of the Aphex Twin.
Wrong and wrong.
The Grade II listed building with the shining beam is actually a memorial to Michael Faraday, local Walworth boy, famed physicist and chemist and the man responsible for discovering electromagnetic induction.
Built in 1961 and designed by architect Rodney Gordon, the Faraday Memorial serves a duel purpose; as well as celebrating a local legend, housed inside is an electrical substation for London Underground, providing a transformer for the nearby Northern Line.
The original design was for the building to be cased in glass, giving an open house view of the workings within. Fears of vandalism scuppered this and we are left with the current stainless steel design.
After decades of bewildering commuters, the Faraday memorial hit the headlines in 1996 after a local girl won a Blue Peter competition with her design to illuminate the building. A bit of sticky back plastic here, a few fairy lights there, you get the idea...
Still looking futuristic some thirty years since it was built, the future of the Faraday Memorial is uncertain; recent plans to re-design the Elephant would mean the dual roundabout nightmare being removed, along with the Memorial. Relocation is an option, probably to a permanent Michael Faraday Museum.
Or the Aphex Twin's back garden...
(click on thumbs to see large image)