Southbank is a well-known hotspot for art, culture, and creativity within London. The Southbank Undercroft is no exception to this - as it has been home to a thriving and diverse community of skateboarders, BMXers, riders, and artists alike since the 1970s. The Undercroft provides the perfect environment for skating as it is sheltered from the ubiquitous British rain, has conveniently flat smooth surfaces, and a wealth of interesting architectural features, not to mention the graffiti covering every inch of the walls. Whether they realise it or not, the Undercroft features on many tourists' to-do list when visiting London: the stretch of embankment along the Southern Thames is a melting pot of carnival rides, street performers and musicians, and paves the way to the London Eye, making it a popular spot.
The Undercroft is one of the most famous landmarks in British skateboarding history. However, in March 2013, this space of expression and creativity was disrupted as The Southbank Centre revealed proposals for a £120 million redevelopment of its 'Festival Wing'. These new plans included the conversion of the Southbank Undercroft into commercial units and the relocation of the historical skate spot further down the river. Shortly after this in April 2013, a non-profit organisation called 'Long Live Southbank' was set up to preserve the world-renowned, iconic British skate spot and represent the skateboarders, BMXers, riders and artists who spend so much time there.
Long Live Southbank's campaign is dedicated to protecting Southbank Undercroft in its current form so that its vitality of creativity and community can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
For more information on Long Live Southbank - including becoming a member, volunteering at their table at the Undercroft or to buy a t-shirt - check out their website here.