Waltham Forest First to Launch Campaign for London Borough of Culture

14 July 2017


This weekend, Waltham Forest will be the first out of the blocks to launch its campaign to become London’s Borough of Culture.

The £1m prize, launched by the Mayor on Friday 30 June, will be awarded in February.  Applications from boroughs close on Friday 1 December.

Waltham Forest’s bid will be launched by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith at the Walthamstow Garden Party this weekend in Lloyd Park. To back our bid please visit our Borough of Culture website here.

Walthamstow Garden Party, an annual festival attended by 30,000 local people, is delivered in partnership with the Barbican and Create London; celebrating the best talent from around the globe and from Waltham Forest’s thriving creative and cultural communities, it brings together performers, artists, poets, film-makers, food and micro-brewers to showcase their talent and enjoy the summer weather.

With almost 150 days to go until the bid is submitted, the borough will be unveiling 150 Cultural Gems of Waltham Forest to reveal what the north-east London cultural hub has to offer.

Whilst the Borough has a strong cultural heritage ranging from William Morris to Alfred Hitchcock, Grayson Perry, Ian Dury and Peter Blake, over the past decade its status as London’s creative hub has grown significantly.

With affordable space for creative industries where the suburbs meet the city, Waltham Forest is a community unrivalled in its diversity, equality and collaboration. It has therefore become the go-to place for entrepreneurs and artists.

Thus, the borough is confident that its bid will make it a front runner to be awarded the status of London’s first Borough of Culture.

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:

“Waltham Forest is the canvas on which to showcase a unique corner of London’s culture. We are London’s cultural workshop – where the capital’s creative community is heading to set up its studios, businesses, restaurants and galleries.

“We are ambitious and confident about our chances of winning this competition. We are the artisan borough. We’re not just spectators; we’re participators, innovators, instigators and creators. In other boroughs people observe the arts; in Waltham Forest, we make culture happen.

“Waltham Forest represents London’s culture at its finest – and most relevant. Diverse, quirky, creative and fun, we are green space and urban, global and local. 

“This competition is our opportunity to celebrate everything that’s great about Waltham Forest. Our borough is brimming with creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and diverse communities with people from all walks of life coming together to back our bid.  But there’s still so much more we want to achieve to fulfil our cultural ambitions. Winning this competition would give us the support and kudos to build our reputation even further and deliver so much more in terms of culture for residents and business.  It will enable us to provide amazing opportunities for young people in the borough, to become the creative workforce of the future.

“London is a global powerhouse of culture and we want Waltham Forest to be its shop window to the rest of our city, the country and the world.”

Between now and the Friday 1 December deadline, the local community will back the bid and submit their favourite highlights for the borough’s 150 Cultural Gems.  At this weekend’s Walthamstow Garden Party, attendees will take part in launch event The Poet-Tree, where their favourite words and phrases to describe their borough’s cultural icons will become part of an installation that will be developed as it travels around the borough for the next five months as Waltham Forest develops its bid. 

International artist, and local resident, Bob and Roberta Smith, will officially launch the borough’s bid at the Garden Party on Saturday 15 July.