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Michael Faraday Memorial in Southwark sees new lights

Published Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Faraday memorial

Southwark Council has installed a new lighting system to the Michael Faraday (1791-1867) Memorial in Elephant and Castle.

The new multi-coloured feature lighting now illuminates the memorial located on the centre of the northern roundabout of the Elephant and Castle gyratory system.

The new lighting system replaces the now redundant system designed by winners of a competition held by BBC's Blue Peter dating back to 1996.

The new lighting system will be maintained through a 15 year maintenance contract.

The Michael Faraday Memorial was constructed by architect Rodney Gordon in 1960-61. The grade II listed building is influenced by the work of Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus movement.

The striking stainless steel box is hoisted by a four columned black steel structure and commemorates Michael Faraday's significant contributions to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

The building is an early British example of the use of stainless steel as a cladding system and the design and materials anticipated the high tech of the 1970s and 1980s.

The new lighting system is part of Southwark Council's Elephant and Castle regeneration plans. The £1.5bn programme includes the creation of a new pedestrianised town centre, market square, 5,000 new and replacement homes, up to 450,000 square feet of retail space, an integrated public transport hub and five green spaces.

Councillor Veronica Ward, Cabinet Leader for Culture, Leisure, Sport and the Olympics said, "I am very pleased to see the new lighting system for the Michael Faraday Memorial reach completion.  The iconic building is a great hallmark of our borough and we are committed to maintaining its upkeep. Michael Faraday's work may not resonate with all residents so this is a great opportunity to celebrate his enormous achievements."

"It is a great time of redevelopment in Elephant and Castle and each strand of the regeneration scheme is geared towards making the area a more pleasant place for local residents to live with the creation of more local jobs and training opportunities and new cultural and leisure facilities."

Born in 1791 in Newington Butts, Southwark, Michael Faraday received basic formal education before becoming an apprentice for a local bookbinder for seven years.

During this time Faraday educated himself on various scientific principles before securing a role as a chemical assistant at the Royal Institution.

Throughout his lifetime Faraday held a number of notable positions including the first Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and was appointed Scientific Adviser to Trinity House from 1836 -1865.

Faraday's contribution to modern physics is prevalent to this day having coined the scientific terms 'ion', 'electrode' and 'cathode'.

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