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Celebrating the crucial positive contributions of the residents of Bankside

Inspiring the current generations of Bankside residents to exact positive change. 

This was initially funded by united Saint Saviours Charity.



Bankside is one of London’s most historic districts.


Geographically, Bankside is bounded to the north by the Thames, to the east by London Bridge, to the west by South Bank and Waterloo, and to the south by Borough.


Bankside’s name derives from the 16th century Banksyde. It’s a district with a rich industrial heritage and a history full of active citizenship. It is home to world-famous destinations such as Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and Borough Market, is one of the most visited districts in London and an area of landmark commercial and residential developments.


Bankside’s history is full of active citizenship, which without, Bankside would not be the same. However this is not as well-known as it should be, not well understood and not discovered in depth.


Approximately 7000 people live in Bankside, considerably outnumbered by workers (70,000) and visitors (7,000,000).


Bankside’s rich and vibrant story of active citizenship needs to be told, so our target audiences are aware of the existence of a large residential community, the significant contributions it has made, all of which has made Bankside vibrant, diverse and prosperous today.




In the face of constant redevelopment and rapid change residents increasingly feel invisible to decision makers and airbrushed out of the history of the area. Highlighting and promoting the Lives of Bankside Residents will increase awareness of the residential community, their contributions and their important stake in Bankside among fellow residents, especially those coming to live in our area and to those whose investment, plans or work will affect the lives of residents in future.


Our own research (182 residents surveyed) shows that there are limited opportunities for residents to engage with the History and Heritage of the Bankside and many residents do not find it accessible. More importantly our research shows that many (especially younger people) are not aware of the history and heritage of the area and therefore do not feel a sense of belonging to their community leading to residents working and feeling isolated.


Many studies, such as the study by Dr Juliet Wakefield, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent shows that identifying strongly with one’s local community, the history and its heritage has significant benefits to their health and well-being. By engaging residents with the history and heritage of the area and by enabling residents to tell their stories we feel that those who are isolated and lonely will feel significantly better and a part of their community.


Our research (182 residents surveyed) also shows that in the rapid transformation of the Bankside and surrounding areas there are many residents who feel 'airbrushed' out of society and Bankside's recent history. We aim to change this by enabling residents to tell their stories on a platform which will reach the general public.


Through The Lives of Bankside Residents project we will connect residents and enable them to play a significant role in shaping the area in conjunction with our other strands of work.




Bankside is different and attractive. It epitomises the diversity of London in that it is home to residential, cultural, commercial, educational, public and religious stakeholders. We want people who work in Bankside, those who visit bankside and those who are involved in shaping Bankside to be aware of the long residential history of the area and to appreciate the way in which the area has developed through active citizenship.

Our aim is to uncover and promote the rich residential heritage of Bankside and to ensure that its residents, who are central to its history, its current existence and to its future are inspired and able to meaningfully influence Bankside’s future as they have done in the past.

Through the project we will achieve:


  • A reduction in loneliness and isolation for older residents

  • An increase in Sense of belonging 

  • The promotion and strengthening of community cohesion

  • Promotion of active citizenship


Key Message


There is and has been an active residential community who although relatively small in number have played a noticeable and effective part in creating the diverse, vibrant and prosperous place Bankside is today.


Bankside is unique in that it is the only area in central London which is home to a significant residential community (relative to other central London areas), cultural, commercial, educational, public and religious stakeholders.


The Project


Essentially the Lives of Bankside Residents is an oral history project focusing on the residential heritage in the Bankside and surrounding areas, the memories, experiences and opinions of local residents who have lived in the Bankside area for over 40 years to as little as 5 years.


Through the project we will engage local residents who live or live and work in the Bankside and surrounding areas.


Residents will be engaged through workshops/interviews which will be audio and video recorded. Transcripts of the audio recordings of the workshops/interviews will be made available for use in future history and heritage projects.


Some of the materials acquired from the workshops/interviews will be used to create designs and ideas of physical depictions of residential

history (such as a plaque, carvings or mural etc.). These will be created and installed through further funding.


For example: a carving explaining how the Rose Playhouse was saved by residents or how residents campaigned for the Creation of the Coin Street community developments.


The film and audio will be published online on our website/social media - our partners’ websites and social media (Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Blackfriars Settlement, Southwark Cathedral, Coin Street Community Builders, St George the Martyr Church and many others). The film will also be available in hard copy and be screened at various major events including:

- The Great Get Together Bankside - June 2020

- Living Bankside 25th Anniversary - November 2020

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