You can’t move history – Southbank Undercroft Skate Space Tour

Monday 28 January 2019

© Chris Jackson

© Chris Jackson

© Chris Jackson

As long-term supporters of the Long Live Southbank campaign to save the Southbank Undercroft, NLA invited Members to a Study Tour of the forthcoming extended skate space and youth centre.

Internationally famous for skateboarding for over 40 years, the area plays a huge role in shaping the unique character of the Southbank area, and survives today as a crucial space for the skateboarding community in the capital. 

Leading the tour was Stuart Maclure, Project Manager of Long Live Southbank – a grassroots campaign to save the space, launched in 2013, with the vision to provide more free creative space in the area. During a presentation on the history and nearby future of the undercroft, Stuart told members that “plans to demolish the space received the highest number of planning objections to any UK application – the second being a nuclear plant.” 

Stuart led members through the Southbank Centre’s working studio to a hidden garden – soon to be renovated as part of the plans and used by the new Schools and Young People’s Centre – and to the existing skate space, which will be increased by 400m2

Stuart was joined by Chris Allen, Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios – who created the plans for the restoration. Alix Wooding, Director of Development at Southbank Centre, described the impact of how improvements would help bring life to the area, “We own 17 acres of land on the Southbank and the nature of openness and accessibility in the area is part of our DNA and culture. The skate community is such an important part of that.”

Nic Durston, Chief Executive of the South Bank BID – who sponsors NLA’s Culture programme – also joined the group to give an overview of wider plans for the Southbank area, including the Time Out Market at Waterloo, the BFI redevelopment and new WeWork space at Two Southbank Place.

 The tour ended with skater Louis Woodhead thanking both the skate and built environment communities for their continued support, saying: “We’re now so optimistic about the future of the skate space - it’s special for a whole generation of people, a huge part of our life. It’s the longest continually skated space and one of the most important. London is lucky to have it.”

The Long Live Southbank team are close to raising £900k of their £1.1m target – you can find out more, and contribute to support one of the most important sites in skateboarding history here.

NLA Study Tours are a unique opportunity for NLA Members to visit new and upcoming developments in London – hearing from the architects and teams behind them. Find out more about membership here

By Merry Arnold, Marketing and Communications Manager, NLA

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Southbank Undercroft Skate Space Tour


Visit the iconic Southbank Undercroft, internationally famous for skateboarding for over 40 years.

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