Regeneration project: Waterloo

The area around The Cut and Lower Marsh is being revitalised with a Mayor’s Portas Pilot grant of £97,000 to create a distinctive new market quarter for the Waterloo area. The Cut and Lower Marsh were once home to London’s longest street market but subsequent developments left these two streets increasingly cut off and lacking their original spark. The Mayor’s investment is supporting the return of Lower Marsh’s street market by working with local businesses, schools, colleges and arts organisations. By so doing, it is putting life and character back in this historic pocket of London, and attracting new visitors to a unique area.

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Animating places

Lower Marsh’s market is being improved thanks to a number of fresh initiatives. Workshops at Oasis Academy Johanna primary school have given pupils the chance to ‘test trade’ their wares in the market, helping children learn about business first hand. Students of textiles, ceramics, jewellery and printmaking at Morley College have also been invited to sell their work on designated stalls at special festive markets. Additional ‘satellite’ market stalls have also been set up to draw activity down Lower Marsh and The Cut and towards the junction with Waterloo Road, making the market look and feel more substantial.  With support from the Mayor’s Pocket Parks Programme, a small space near Waterloo station is being turned into a green oasis with opportunities for market trading.

Hosting events

Portas Pilot funds helped Lower Marsh host Fantasy High Street in July 2013, an arts event which combined street theatre and visual arts. Artists and performers were teamed with local businesses, demonstrating how arts and culture can work together to rejuvenate the high street. The Cut is also home to two famous London theatres: the Old Vic and the Young Vic. Building on this distinctive cultural heritage, the Actors Market project of September 2013 saw actors from Waterloo East Theatre put on a special one-off show in the market centre based on local history.


The businesses on Lower Marsh and The Cut are mainly small-scale and independent. A landowner forum has been set up to develop a single vision for the area. The group is focusing on the coordinated promotion of vacant retail space and finding high quality retailers for vacant units. Local independent traders are also being encouraged to get involved in the Waterloo Independents’ Day, a national campaign supporting small retailers. There is also an important relationship between the market and Morley College, with the college using the initiative as the basis for a course on business skills for craftspeople and designers.

Borough: Lambeth       

Partners/client: LB Lambeth, Waterloo Quarter, Morley College, Waterloo East Theatre

Consultants: Aberrant Architecture, Partnership Solutions

Funding: Mayor of London £137,000, Waterloo Quarter £44,000, Lambeth Council £50,000

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