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Walthamstow Garden Party
Ben Rowe

Revealed: the first ever London Borough of Culture is…

Written by
James Manning

Maybe you’ve heard of the UK City of Culture and the European Capital of Culture? Well, this new idea from City Hall is just like that. Only instead of Plovdiv or Hull, next year we’ll be celebrating art and culture in… Waltham Forest!

There are no boundaries to London’s creativity – you’ll find people doing brilliant things and pushing envelopes in every zone of the tube map – but local culture doesn’t always get the recognition it merits. The ‘London Borough of Culture’ programme aims to change that, siphoning cultural funding and attention to one of the more overlooked corners of the capital.

The scheme was announced last summer, and 22 of the city’s 32 boroughs submitted bids highlighting local talent from all over town. But just before 10 o’clock this morning the Mayor announced that Waltham Forest will be the first ever London Borough of Culture.

Already home to the ace annual Walthamstow Garden Party, the north-east London borough will get a big whack of cash for local grassroots culture next year, with residents and people from across the city invited to join the celebrations. Big institutions like the Barbican, the Roundhouse, the Museum of London and the National Trust will get involved with events in the borough too. It’s set to be a big year for Walthamites – and we’ll be covering the best of it, obvs.

Hot on its heels, Brent will be London Borough of Culture in 2020. Up to six other boroughs will get support for one-off cultural projects. And after that… who knows? If the scheme is a success, more boroughs will be able to bid in the years to come. Prepare for loads more great grassroots culture across the city. For now, we’ll see you at Waltham Forest ’19.

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