‘Long Live Southbank’, the history.
Long Live Southbank presents an educational campaign film showing the 40 year history of one of London’s most unique cultural spots, the 9 month campaign to protect it and the true story of its intended destruction by the Southbank Centre.
London’s skate and BMX community plus tens of thousands of supporters have campaigned every single day for the preservation of Southbank (Undercroft) since the latest Festival Wing ‘regeneration’ plans were first revealed. The result was unprecedented public support from all walks of life, something the Southbank Centre has failed to achieve in it’s goal to turn the spot in to additional retail units, something the Centre already has in abundance: there is a space available under Hungerford Bridge available just a 120 meters to the East which could be used for this instead.
Support continues to grow daily. The debate is not about denying the expansion of access to culture, it is about the questioning of the integrity of plans to stifle and silence existing cultural spaces. LLSB are the voice of people who stand for the future of artistic and cultural expression for everyone. Not just on paper, but in practice.
Over the past forty years, the Undercroft has played host to an exhausting list of skaters and BMX riders (including several members of our team). From Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk, to Arlo Eisenberg and Brooke Howard-Smith, Danny MacAskill and Darryl Monroe. It’s success has always been that it’s an improvised space.
‘The future is in the eyes of the young, and not the minds of the old.’ LLSB.
When the Undercroft was first constructed, nobody really knew what it would be used for. For decades, generations of creative people have used the space as a central hub of skate, BMX, to hone their photographic and video making skills, write music, design graphics, draw and paint on boards, canvases, surfaces and bikes. As the world’s oldest skatepark, it’s success has always been that it wasn’t conceived as a skatepark. The lines and gradients are as organic as they are brutalist because they weren’t measured-up to a formula, so it’s a completely different experience to a half pipe or dirt trail.
So, it lends itself to creative interpretation in a three dimensional way. Isn’t that the ultimate accolade for a creative space?