South Bank

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Image:NationalTheatre London.jpg
The National Theatre is one of the collection of arts buildings that make up the South Bank Centre. The London Television Centre tower can be glimpsed at left.
A later example of Brutalist architecture, the appearance of the National Theatre remains controversial, and it was once likened to a "nuclear power station" by Prince Charles.

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 1970s1980s, 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.

To the west of the RFH, beyond the railway viaduct leading up to Hungerford Bridge, is a public open space called Jubilee Gardens, separating it from nearby County Hall (Incidentally, the County Hall now houses a hotel - the Marriott London County Hall). By County Hall is the large observation wheel built to celebrate the 2000 Millennium, the London Eye.

Further to the east is the Tate Modern art gallery. Past that on Bankside is the reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and, near London Bridge, Borough Market.

Beyond Waterloo Station, to the south, can be found the rest of the Waterloo area, including the historic market street of Lower Marsh and The Cut, home of The Old Vic

The South Bank is also regarded by many to be the unofficial home of British street skateboarding. The sheltered section beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall has provided the skateboarding community of Britain and international skaters alike with ideal banks and stairs since the 1970s, and is conveniently located near other skatespots such as the Hayward Gallery. More recently, a skateboarding related art company, The Side Effects of Urethane, has provided South Bank with several skatable sculptures in their 'Moving Units' project.

Coordinates: 51°30′15″N, 00°07′00″W

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South Bank

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