Saturday Snapshots #35


Southbank graffiti, London – April 2009

Looking at this picture, you may think that I tool a wrong turn last week and wandered off into some ghetto of London, risking life and limb for a Saturday Snapshot…  Never fear!  This colourful splash of graffiti is actually right in the heart of London, in the undercroft of the Southbank Centre, just metres from the tourists and the Thames.  The building above houses cinemas, performing arts venues and concert halls where people pay lots of money to see dancers displaying their skill and art.  Here in the undercroft, people can watch skateboarders displaying their skill and art for free – and they do.  The skateboarding and colourful graffiti attract crowds of visitors, gawpers and photographers every day. 

There were fears a couple of years ago when plans were unveiled to send the undercroft the way of so much of London's public spaces.  The proposal was to take a free public space, used by hundreds of people each day, and turn it into a privately-owned space by converting it into shops and restaurants.  But such was the outcry (and, rumour has it, the support for skateboarding in Parliament!) that this plan has now been shelved and it seems that the future of the home of British skateboarding has been secured – for the time being.  For more information on this fascinating space, I'd strongly encourage you to watch this excellent short film about the undercroft’s significance as a public space

This is part of a series of non-food photographs that will be published every Saturday on CookSister. Click here for a full list of photographs previously featured.  If you like this or any other photo featured in Saturday Snapshots, why not buy it as a greeting card or print in my RedBubble store?

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below the post. I'd also love to hear what you thought about this post so please do leave a comment below. Hope to see you again soon!

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  1. says

    Jeanne, last year we all took our kids up to London (why up I’ll never understand – more like across and down a bit although my husband always swears I must be looking at a different map to everyone else) , but anyway, we did a great exhibition at £40 per head, which the kids loved, the London eye, lunch at wagamama and then the kids favourite, several hours wandering the southbank watching the mime artists, dancers, and yes, the skateboarders. They were great, and although I was treated to more glimpses of exposed underwear than I would have found at the Moulin Rouge, we were also treated to free dazzling displays of athleticism and artistry. Vive la Undercroft, I say! Great pic.

  2. says

    Jeanne, I’m loving these posts. Tell me more and more about London! I feel like I get to live vicariously through your posts. This photograph is excellent by the way :)

  3. says

    Huh, leave it to someone to suggest the further homogenization of the community! I love these areas too– they have their own unique beauty. Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. says

    Jeanne, have you ever tried skateboarding? Up until now I thought the people were just losers with nothing else to do with their time. A few weeks ago Gabriel got a skateboard as a gift and I tried to go on it. It’s easy, right? NOT! I can truly say those dudes have got great talent to pull off such feats on the skateboard…