Southbank Centre

Category: Exhibition venues

The South Bank is the area in London on the southern bank of the River Thames near Waterloo station that houses a number of important cultural buildings/institutions. It was the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain, which proposed the name for this post-war urban regeneration project; the ancient name of the area is Lambeth Marsh and Lower Marsh.

The legacy of the Festival is the Royal Festival Hall, now part of the South Bank Centre arts complex, was built. The area is split between the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark (for the part of the riverside which stretches towards Blackfriars Bridge; the riverside beyond that point is properly Bankside.)

Since then, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room were opened in 1967, the Hayward Gallery in 1968, and the National Theatre in 1976. Nearby are the National Film Theatre (NFT), and the British Film Institute which also has opened an IMAX cinema. King’s College London has a campus in the centre.

Adjacent to the NT is the distinctive white tower of the London Weekend Television (LWT) building, where (among other things) the long-running television Arts programme The South Bank Show is produced. Carlton Television and GMTV have also broadcast from the building since 1993, and it is now called The London Television Centre.

Much of the area was subject to various large scale commercial development plans in the 1970s–1980s, which were successfully opposed by community groups. The renovation of the Oxo Tower and development of mixed housing developments and open space by community groups have encouraged the regeneration of the community in the area.


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Southbank Centre