London Borough of Culture

London Borough of Culture

Congratulations to the winners of the London Borough of Culture award; a major new initiative launched by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan – inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes. 

Waltham Forest is the first borough to be awarded the title - for 2019, followed by Brent for 2020.

In addition, six boroughs - Barking & Dagenham, Camden, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham and Merton were each given Cultural Impact Awards, which recognised landmark projects that the boroughs highlighted in their bids.

Waltham Forest named London Borough of Culture 2019

What is London Borough of Culture?

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award will bring Londoners of all ages and backgrounds together. It will put culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs.  It will shine a light on the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and show culture is for everyone. Now more than ever, the Mayor wants Londoners to get to know each other and feel part of our great city. Thanks to this new award, all Londoners will now have the chance to be part of something extraordinary.

In total, 22 boroughs submitted bids in December 2017 to be named London Borough of Culture.

In February 2018, Waltham Forest and Brent were awarded £1.35m of funding to deliver a programme of ambitious cultural activities celebrating the unique character of local people and places.

The winners - Waltham Forest and Brent

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest will be the inaugural London Borough of Culture in 2019. They will deliver a year of exciting cultural activity across the outer London borough, and have an ambitious target of getting 85 per cent of households to participate, attracting half a million visits.

More than 12,000 local people backed Waltham Forest’s application from across the borough’s diverse communities. Drawing on this diversity was a key strength of Waltham Forest’s bid. Activity is planned from Walthamstow to Epping Forest, Chingford to Leytonstone in a borough-wide celebration of culture, which will capture the attention of the whole city. 

Find out more about their plans for 2019


The winner of 2020 London Borough of Culture is Brent. The voices of young people take centre stage in Brent’s bid.

During 2020, the borough will establish a new trust for delivering culture in the area with 50 per cent of the trust’s board being both from the local community and under the age of 30. Rather than adopting a top-down approach, the borough is working with young people to explore what culture means to them in the 21st century and allowing them to directly influence the design of their London Borough of Culture programme. 

Find out more about their plan for 2020 

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Cultural Impact Award winners

Barking and Dagenham – New Town Culture                   Funding Allocated: £233,000

Working with the Foundling Museum, children’s author Jacqueline Wilson and artist Grayson Perry, this incredible project takes culture into care homes across the borough. A programme with access at its heart, designed by and devised for looked-after children in the borough.

Camden – Camden Alive                                                       Funding Allocated: £225,000

Animated trails, digital technology and augmented reality will bring the stories of residents of 12 housing estates in Camden to life. This project is led by the British Museum, Central St Martins, the Roundhouse and augmented reality app Blippar.

Kingston – Live Music                                                          Funding Allocated: £90,000

A brand-new music festival – inspired by the musical heritage of the area, including the old Decca Records pressing plant in New Malden. Young musicians, promoters and businesses will take part in this festival, which will bring further investment into Kingston’s night-time economy.

Lambeth – Next Generation                                                Funding Allocated: £200,000

Lambeth will work with young BAME Londoners to help them develop careers in the arts – inspiring the next generation of artists and cultural leaders. It will be supported by major cultural institutions across the borough including the South Bank Centre, Old Vic, BFI and the National Theatre.

Lewisham – Festival of Creative Ageing                            Funding Allocated: £216,000

Working with Sadler’s Wells and The Albany, the Festival of Creative Ageing celebrates how culture can help people to live longer, happier, more independent lives. The centrepiece will be Christopher Green’s 48-hour immersive theatre performance The Home, devised with older residents.

Merton – Film Merton                                                          Funding Allocated: £40,000

Mitcham really wants a cinema. Merton is taking an inventive approach to establishing a new local cinema in the area. The project aims to show there’s a real appetite in film, and make the case for future investment.

About the the awards

London Borough of Culture award artwork


Jonathan Baldock is a London-based artist. He created a unique ceramic artwork for the two London Borough of Culture winners.

Hand crocheted fabric has been pressed on to the clay. Each award has 33 stitches, representing the 32 boroughs and City of London. Together, they show how London Borough of Culture will bring Londoners together.

The Mayor's Cultural Impact Award winners received a limited edition print of British artist Bob & Roberta Smith's Art for Everyone painting. It was created for the launch of London Borough of Culture in 2017.

Find out more

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