Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019

Waltham Forest is the first ever London Borough of Culture. The award from the Mayor of London will ensure arts and culture is placed at the heart of our communities. The year will explore the theme Radicals, Makers and Fellowship in a collaboration between local residents, artists and creatives producing a once in a lifetime celebration of the place we call home.  

Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 will highlight the character, diversity and cultures of the borough, the things we have in common and the things that make us different, in a year-long celebration of the real cultures of London by the people who live here. See what's on.

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award is a major new initiative launched by the Mayor of London in June 2017 and inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes.

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award brings Londoners together. It puts culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs, illuminating the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and showing 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.

Cllr Clare Coghill
Leader, Waltham Forest Council

"We are so proud to have been selected to be the first Mayor’s London Borough of Culture. We received incredible support for our bid right across the borough. We passionately believe that investment in culture is vital to securing economic growth and social cohesion for the benefit of everyone in this community. The year ahead will shine a light on the fantastic cultural riches of Waltham Forest and create a platform for a programme that is not only for the people but by the people, blurring the line between residents and artists.”

Sam Hunt
Creative Director for London Borough of Culture 2019

"This is an exciting and unique opportunity. This is the first London Borough of Culture, so we can define what that means. I want to make sure people are not left behind. This is going to be created by and for the community, not just an arts programme brought in and foisted on people. The point of it is getting people to love where they call home. We want Waltham Forest to be recognised as a cultural destination and shine a light on the incredible vibrant community here.”

About Waltham Forest

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is north of the River Thames in north-east London and is made of five key centres: Leyton, Leytonstone, Chingford, Higham’s Park and Walthamstow. 

We have a strong culture-led diverse community with a history of makers and creators whose creativity, radical thinking and shared sense of purpose has helped drive innovation and progress across the borough. The area has played home to many notable cultural figures, both historical and contemporary, including William Morris, Alfred Hitchcock, Grayson Perry, Fleur East and Damon Albarn. 

We submitted our bid to be the first Mayor’s London Borough of Culture in December 2017 and on 27 February 2018 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced us as the winners of the London Borough of Culture 2019.

Thank you to everyone who got behind our bid. More than 14,000 residents, businesses and our creative communities pledged their support and helped to achieve this spectacular prize.  

Find out about funding for London Borough of Culture 2019 here