The SOUTH BANK is an entertainment and commercial district of central
London, next to the
River Thames opposite the
City of Westminster
City of Westminster . It
forms a narrow, unequal strip of riverside land within the London
Lambeth and the
London Borough of Southwark where it joins
Bankside . As with most central London districts its edges evolve and
are informally defined however its central area is bounded by
Westminster Bridge and
Blackfriars Bridge . Its name was adopted
Festival of Britain over the local less attractive name of
Lambeth Marsh'; it includes the County Hall , complex with the Sea
Life London Aquarium , the
London Dungeon , Jubilee Gardens and the
London Eye , the
Southbank Centre ,
Royal Festival Hall and National
Theatre , among its long list of attractions. Both the County Hall and
the Shell Centre contain major residential parts.
South Bank is 800 metres southeast of
Charing Cross .
South Bank developed later than the north bank of the river due to
its formerly often waterlogged condition in winter, and throughout its
history has twice functioned as an entertainment district,
interspersed by around a hundred years of wharfs, domestic industry
and manufacturing being its main use. Restoration began in 1917 with
the construction of County Hall at
Lambeth replacing the Lion Brewery,
Coade stone symbol was retained and placed on a pedestal at
Westminster Bridge and is known as the
South Bank Lion . The
pedestrianised embankment is The Queen\'s Walk which is part of the
Albert Embankment built not only for public drainage but to raise the
whole tract of land and prevent flooding.
In 1951 the
Festival of Britain redefined the area as a place for
arts and entertainment. It now forms a significant tourist district in
central London , stretching from the
Blackfriars Bridge in the east to
Westminster Bridge in the west. A series of central London bridges
connect the area to the northern bank of the Thames Golden Jubilee and
Waterloo Bridge .
* 1 History
* 2 Geography
* 3 Cultural aspects
* 4 Transport
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Royal Festival Hall c1959 and the now-demolished Shot Tower .
Middle Ages this area developed as a place of
entertainment outside the formal regulation of the
City of London on
the north bank; this included theatres, prostitution and bear-baiting
By the 18th century the more genteel entertainment of the pleasure
gardens had developed. The shallow bank and mud flats were ideal
locations for industry and docks and went on to develop as an
industrial location in a patchwork of private ownership.
There was a shift in use when the
London County Council required a
new County Hall , which was built between 1917 and 1922 on the south
North Lambeth 's Lower Marsh. The construction of County
Hall returned the first section of river frontage to public use. This
was extended eastwards in 1951 when the
Festival of Britain caused a
considerable area to be redeveloped.
It was renamed 'South Bank' as part of promoting the Festival. The
legacy of the festival was mixed, with buildings and exhibits
demolished to make way for Jubilee Gardens , whilst the Royal Festival
Hall and The Queen\'s Walk were retained as part of the Southbank
Centre . During the years following the festival the arts and
entertainment complex grew with additional facilities, including the
Queen Elizabeth Hall , and other arts venues opened along the river
such as the
Royal National Theatre .
The National Theatre is one of the collection of arts buildings
on the South Bank.
South Bank stretches two square miles (5 square kilometres) along
the southern bank of the River Thames. The western section is in the
Bishops ward of the
London Borough of Lambeth , and the eastern
section is in the
London Borough of Southwark where it joins Bankside
There are significant amounts of public open space along the
riverside. Between the London Studios and the Oxo Tower lies BERNIE
SPAIN GARDENS, named after Bernadette Spain, a local community
activist who was part of the Coin Street Action Group.
South Bank is a significant arts and entertainment district. The
Southbank Centre comprises the
Royal Festival Hall , the Queen
Elizabeth Hall and
The Hayward Gallery . The
Royal National Theatre ,
London IMAX super cinema and
BFI Southbank adjoin to the east, but
are not strictly part of the centre.
County Hall is non-administrative and has been converted into The
Marriott Hotel County Hall,
Sea Life London Aquarium and the
London Dungeon . It contains the Jubilee Gardens , home to the
Udderbelly Festival for 15 weeks in the summer, as well as the London
OXO Tower Wharf is towards the eastern end of South Bank, and
houses Gallery@Oxo, shops and boutiques, and the
OXO Tower Restaurant
Harvey Nichols .
The London Studios , the main home of ITV faces the Thames and
Rambert Dance Company have their new studios on Upper Ground. The Old
Young Vic theatres are also nearby.
Florence Nightingale Museum to nursing, medicine and the Crimean
War adjoins the 'district'.
Part of the
Southbank Centre under the
Queen Elizabeth Hall is known
as the undercroft , and has been used by the skateboarding community
since the early 1970s. Originally an architectural dead-spot, it has
become a landmark of British skateboarding culture. The size of the
under-croft has been reduced in recent years and was supposed to be
returned to original size. This now seems unlikely and the future of
the whole space is completely unsure at present with campaigns for its
future survival being fought by the
Long Live Southbank campaign. Part
Southbank Centre has been turned into shops looking out over
South Bank was the main scene of the 1952 comedy film The Happy
Family , which is set around the
Festival of Britain . Graffiti
and skaters in the undercroft at
Part of the success of the area as a visitor attraction is attributed
to the high levels of public transport access. Several major railway
terminals are within walking distance of the South Bank, on both sides
of the river, including Waterloo ,
Charing Cross and Blackfriars . The
London Underground has stations on or near the South Bank, from west
to east, at Westminster , Waterloo , Embankment , Blackfriars and
The development of the Thameslink
Blackfriars station in the early
2010s, which has access from both the southern and northern side of
the river, prompted the additional named signage "for
South Bank". Accessibility to the north bank is high with connections
made, from west to east, over the Westminster , Golden Jubilee ,
Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges. The river is utilised as a means of
transport with piers along the
South Bank at the London Eye, Royal
Festival Hall and Bankside.
South Bank by night. Showing the
illuminated National Theatre (right side of image), facing east;
City of London
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Farrell, Terry (2010). Shaping London. John
Wiley & Sons .
* ^ London Gazetteer of Street Names
* ^ "Bernie Spain Gardens". coinstreet.org. Coin Street Community
Builders. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
* ^ "Gabriel’s Wharf". thamespathway.com. 2008. Retrieved 21 May
* ^ "Bernie Spain Gardens". www.london-se1.co.uk.
Retrieved 18 March 2015.