Southbank Will Live On


Written by Jack Blocker
19 Friday 19th September 2014

The crew at Long Live Southbank recently announced that their efforts to save the undercroft at the Hayward Gallery had been succesful. You can read the entire statement here, but the long and short of it is detailed below:

"Following talks that have taken place over the last three months, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre are delighted to have reached an agreement that secures the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft as the long-term home of British skateboarding and the other urban activities for which it is famous."

This is great news for the campaign, who worked tirelessly to preserve a spot that may hold more significance to the story of British skating than any other locale. The movement started when plans were put forward to further re-develop the Southbank into a monument to tourism and commerce. The proposed shops and eateries would have forced the skaters out.

Interestingly, there were plans to build another skate-spot 120 yards up river under the Hungerford Bridge, but these were rejected. I wonder if the LLSB movement would have gained as much traction had these plans gone through. As important as it is to preserve history, sometimes it is more beneficial to move forward - if the powers that be are willing to help.

A few years ago, historic skating locations were demolished in Venice Beach, CA, (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Fans and Rodney Mullen clip anoraks will know the ones I mean) to make way for a more tourist friendly location. However, a newer skatepark was also included, which locals know is unsurpassed in the area in terms of quality. I don't think the current crop of skaters even remember their former objections now.

This is all supposition though. Seeing as this country rarely bothers to invest in quality parks, it's crucial to preserve the spots that were formed through ingenuity and skill. Congrats LLSB, you've done some stellar work.

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