Our Story

Long Live Southbank was born in 2013 as a campaign to save the world’s longest continually skated street spot. After a record breaking campaign, by September 2014, we had saved the space and gained a legal guarantee for its long term future.

Our relationship with Southbank Centre improved greatly and we launched a proposal to restore legendary sections of the skate spot that hadn’t been used since 2004. After careful preparatory work and a successful planning application, in June 2017 we publicly launched our joint fundraising campaign.

Our vision is to provide more free creative space in the very heart of London, for all, forever.

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Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, see a full thank you here

Timeline

1963

Work starts on London’s new arts and cultural complex along the South Bank of the river Thames, designed by members of the GLC and avant-garde architects Archigram

Work starts on London’s new arts and cultural complex along the South Bank of the river Thames, designed by members of the GLC and avant-garde architects Archigram

1967

London’s newest brutalist buildings open to the public. The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Rooms feature ground level walkways designed to encourage pedestrians to explore

London’s newest brutalist buildings open to the public. The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Rooms feature ground level walkways designed to encourage pedestrians to explore the numerous levels of the external spaces.

1976

Skateboarding spreads from Venice Beach to London. In 1973 skaters find the ‘Undercroft’ features perfect for skateboarding

Skateboarding spreads from Venice Beach to London. In 1973 skaters find the ‘Undercroft’ features perfect for skateboarding and the first photos of skating along the South Bank are published in 1976. Dubbed ‘Southbank’ by the resident skaters, the space is a ‘found space’ and ‘street spot’ rather than being designed as a skatepark.

1988

Southbank saw the legendary Powell team travel to the Undercroft as well as the local ‘Smell of Death’ jam, bringing the community together in a celebration of the space

The 1980s saw dramatic changes in British Skateboarding, with Southbank central to its development. By this point Southbank was established as the epicentre of UK skateboarding whilst simultaneously serving as a shelter for the homeless who resided in the famous Cardboard City. 1988 saw the legendary Powell team travel to the Undercroft as well as the ‘Smell of Death’ jam, bringing the community together in a celebration of the space.

1990

Many of the original features of Southbank are destroyed to deter skateboarding. Skateboarders show their creativity by seeing the new obstacles as skateable objects

Many of the original features of Southbank are destroyed to deter skateboarding. The much-loved ‘Bank to Wall’ is skate stopped with bollards, the ‘Little Banks’ are fenced off, a ‘Driveway’ has pebbles placed on it and paving slabs on the ‘flat ground’ have lines drilled into them. Skateboarders show their creativity by seeing the new obstacles as skateable objects.

2004

Large sections of the Undercroft spaces are closed off. ‘The Side Effects of Urethane’ exhibition takes place, with skateable sculptures and artwork installed

Large sections of the Undercroft spaces are closed off. The Southbank Centre give reassurance that the closure is temporary. ‘The Side Effects of Urethane’ exhibition takes place, with artworks placed on the temporary hoardings and skateable sculptures installed.

2005

A pedestrian barrier is installed, separating the users of the Undercroft from passers by and onlookers as the Queen’s Walk is refurbished

There are further reductions to the skate space. The Southbank Centre state more hoardings are necessary during the Royal Festival Hall refurbishment.

2011

LLSB is set up by the Undercroft Community following Southbank Centre’s announcement of its ‘Festival Wing’ plans, which propose the permanent closure of the Southbank Undercroft

A pedestrian barrier is installed, separating the users of the Undercroft from passers by and onlookers as the Queen’s Walk is refurbished.

2013

Following a record breaking campaign which saw immense public support for the Undercroft community, LLSB and Southbank Centre sign an agreement to keep the Undercroft as it is

Long Live Southbank is set up by the Undercroft Community following Southbank Centre’s announcement of its ‘Festival Wing’ plans, which propose the permanent closure of the Southbank Undercroft. The proposals would see it infilled with shops and restaurants.

2014

Long Live Southbank prepare and present a proposal to Southbank Centre for the restoration of the areas of the Undercroft closed off in 2004

Following a record breaking campaign which saw immense public support for the Undercroft community, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre sign an agreement which guarantees the long term future of the skate spot.

2015

Long Live Southbank prepare and present a proposal to Southbank Centre for the restoration of the areas of the Undercroft closed off in 2004

Long Live Southbank prepare and present a proposal to Southbank Centre for the restoration of the areas of the Undercroft closed off in 2004.

2016

With a vision to one day restore the entire Undercroft, LLSB and Southbank Centre form a partnership and joint project team to begin a new chapter in the Undercrofts history

With a vision to one day restore the entire Undercroft, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre form a partnership and joint project team to begin a new chapter in the Undercrofts history.

2017

Lambeth approve project planning permission and the fundraising campaign launches in June 2017. The skateboard community gives their full support

Lambeth approve project planning permission and the fundraising campaign launches in June 2017. The skateboard community gives their full support and the team aim for completion of the project by late 2018.

2018

Technical designs for the build are finalised. Long Live Southbank continue to engage with a wide array of supporters to complete the restoration campaign

Fundraising in full swing with the aim to finish the project by late 2018.

The Plans

After a great deal of hard work by all, our technical designs have been finalised and Lambeth have given planning consent for the restoration. Drawn by the pioneering Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the plans will restore iconic parts of the Undercroft including the much loved little banks and timber ledges, legendary in skateboarding history but closed off for more than a decade.

Giving over 400m2 new space for skating, BMXing and Graffiti writing, the restoration would give a much needed increase in free creative space on the South Bank of the Thames.

The Legendary Wooden Ledge & Flatground
Based on Cad Artists impression // Click here to experience 360° view
The Small Banks
Based on Cad Artists impression // Click here to experience 360° view