Since the 1970s, the Undercroft of The Southbank Centre – in the heart of London – has been home to skateboarders and graffiti artists, among others, and is considered to be the longest used skate spot in the world - according to the Southbank Centre. 

I frequently find myself here, camera in hand, when I feel an ‘artist’s block’ coming on as it is sure to provide something camera-worthy among the diverse community, who congregate to skate, paint and ultimately revel in the freedom of youth among one of the world’s most inclusive and remarkable cities. 

This is why in 2014 when it came under threat of being lost to extra retail space, the organisation Long Live Southbank vocalised and fought for the fears everyone had: losing a vital space for the creativity of those who inhabit our city as well as erasing a massive piece of skateboarding history from our metropolitan landscape. The site was endangered from a £120m redevelopment offered to the Southbank Centre and was suggested to be relocated to the underneath of Hungerford Bridge, I cannot imagine a Southbank without the Undercroft and the unique society that has been created surrounding it.

Globally, many of the skateparks from the 1970s have been demolished which makes the Undercroft crucial to the culture of our city and of skateboarding as a whole, I have seen myself how it brings various people: tourists, skaters, artists and just ‘average’ people together, building a community, but ultimately it is a piece of tangible history that has been used and will be used for years to come.