Justine Simonds and Sadiq Khan

Bids are in for the London Borough of Culture

07 December 2017

The bids for London Borough of Culture are finally in. All 22 of them. 

There was much expectation across London last week as the bidding boroughs delivered their plans to City Hall.

Over the last 5 months Sadiq and I have been blown away by the way this brand new idea for London has been so fully embraced. The vision, the ambition and the invention has been unprecedented.

Campaigns have involved pledges, events, films, tweets, selfies, songs, badges, shop windows and even the top of the BT Tower. Community groups, businesses, schools, libraries, local talent, acclaimed artists, arts organisations large and small all have backed the bids. Bookies are even offering odds.

We often say culture is in London’s DNA and we quote the statistic that culture is the reason 4 out of 5 people live, work or visit the capital. But if anyone ever needed more convincing – they need look no further than the London Borough of Culture!

The bidding process alone has shown us unequivocally how much culture we have in London, how much talent, how much heritage and creativity and how much we love it.

Already hidden gems have been revealed and spotlights shone on our own local neighbourhoods with #mylocalculture showcasing some great stories.

Thanks to our friends at Into Film young people and schools across the capital are making short films about what they love about their local areas. They have until 31 January 2018 to send in their films and win the latest filmmaking equipment and professional training.

Having heard about the success of the UK City of Culture in Hull, Sadiq and I went on a research trip to see the impact for ourselves. We saw how it had transformed the city.

The cultural programme was great but it had also been the catalyst for major city pedestrianisation, including gorgeous fountains and public squares. The city’s first 4-star hotel was being built, independent shops had sprung up and businesses were finding it easier to recruit good people.

The renewed civic pride was palpable – from the volunteers we met at the station, to the community workers on estates – nine out of ten local people had been to something in the first 3 months of the year.

I wanted to say a very big thank you to all the bidding boroughs for the incredible effort in putting together such brilliant submissions.

We all live in an amazing city. London is the world leader when it comes to culture. I know that whoever wins the London Borough of Culture title will deliver an extraordinary and unique programme, which will remind us of the great treasures and the talent we have across the capital.

I can’t wait to read all the applications and wish everyone the very best of luck!

Justine Simons OBE
Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries