Cardboard City heritage project gains Historic England funding

A project to explore the history of 'Cardboard City' at Waterloo is one of 56 schemes to share in funding from Historic England's Everyday Heritage Grant programme.

Cardboard City heritage project gains Historic England funding
Rough sleeping has continued to be a feature of the subways around Waterloo Bridge even since the clearance of the Bullring in the late 1990s. This image is from 2013.

Cardboard City, a makeshift encampment made from hundreds of cardboard boxes in the underpasses between Waterloo Station and the South Bank, sheltered thousands of rough sleepers over 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s.

As public consciousness of Cardboard City begins to fade, and many of those who lived there are in poor health or have since died, St John's Waterloo and The Bridge At Waterloo are working to remember and memorialise this history and the ephemeral and neglected heritage of homeless people in the area.

Historic England this week confirmed that 'The Lost City of Cardboard: A Homelessness Heritage Project' will receive nearly Ā£25,000 from the Everyday Heritage Grant programme.

Led by artists and people who have experienced homelessness, this project will sensitively engage with individuals who lived in Cardboard City, those who supported its inhabitants, and local residents.

Participants will shape the project's outcomes, involving research and documentation of narratives, individuals and objects linked to Cardboard City.

Cardboard City occupied the subterranean spaces around the junction known as 'The Bullring' at the southern end of Waterloo Bridge.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the BFI IMAX cinema whose construction led to the final clearance of the encampment.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said:

There are so many hidden histories to uncover here in England. Every community has a story to tell and we want to hear them. This is the strength of our Everyday Heritage grant programme, which funds projects that are community-led and really engage with local people by empowering them to research and tell their own stories. Iā€™m excited to learn more about these fascinating projects as they shine an important light on our working class heritage.
Tags: Waterloo, History, Lambeth, South Bank, Homelessness

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