From Hackney’s music venues to a Croydon airfield, our cultural hotspots are mapped

Village Underground in Shoreditch Pic: Village Underground

Hackney is London’s musical borough according to a new cultural map of the capital.

Published by City Hall, the map has collected data on all of the cultural sites throughout the capital including libraries, museums, pubs, music venues, workspaces for artists and skate parks.

The cultural map also lists more than 19,000 listed buildings and the 660 heritage risk sites in London.

Tower Hamlets and Croydon also have great cultural wealth with Tower Hamlets having the most fashion design businesses and Croydon the most monuments outside of central London.

There are five music recording studios and 19 grassroots music venues in Hackney, the most out of any of the London boroughs.

Many of these are in nightlife hotspot Shoreditch and include legendary venues like Village Underground and The Old Blue Last who have hosted artists such as Arctic Monkeys and  Charli XCX in recent years.

Hackney also houses the most workspaces for artists in London with 41, which shows that the borough is just as welcoming for artists as it is musicians.

Some of the other cultural highlights include the art-deco Rio Cinema in Dalston, the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton which explores everything to do with the home and the Hackney Empire which shows everything from stand up comedy to dance acts.

The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Tower Hamlets has the highest number of fashion and design manufacturing businesses out of any London borough with 23. This includes new independent businesses as well as historic and internationally respected specialists in the field of leather and textile manufacturing.

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Pic: Neil Turner

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Pic: Neil Turner

Many people might not know about like one of the few legal graffiti walls in London being in Mile End skate park. The borough is also home to the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and Poplar Union, which gives artists and performers of all kinds a place to put on shows and productions.

Croydon has the largest number of listed monuments outside of central London – perfect for some sightseeing. The scheduled monuments in Croydon include historical sites such as, the World War II fighter pens at the former RAF airfield in Kenley and unique architecture like the ancient gateway at the St John’s the Baptist Church.

Croydon is also home to the independent David Lean cinema, which allows people to discover the best of British and world cinema, and Fairfield Halls, an arts and entertainment centre which includes a theatre, gallery and concert hall.

St John the Baptist’s Church gateway Pic: Stephen Craven, Geograph


However, it is bad news for Lewisham residents, as their borough didn’t top list. If it’s any consolation, Lewisham has 98 pubs, which puts it up there as one of the highest outside of central London.

Some cultural highlights in Lewisham include well-renowned live music pub the New Cross Inn, the historic Albany Theatre in Deptford and the fascinating Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill.

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill Pic: Julian Osley, Geograph

The map also aims to help local businesses, authorities and cultural leaders to support cultural spaces all across London.

Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “Culture has always been London’s DNA, it is the story of our city and gives London its character and authenticity.”

“Now thanks to this map, we have a live, fine grained picture of the city’s cultural assets, giving us for the first time, a snapshot of the true riches and clusters in the capital. These spaces play a vital role in bringing our communities together.”

“That’s why it’s so important that we protect our creative communities and help Londoners access the wide range of culture on their own doorstep. By doing this we will ensure that London remains the thriving, creative and innovative city we all love.”

The map has been published as part of the Mayor of London’s cultural infrastructure plan and will continue to evolve along with London. New categories of cultural places will be added and any places of cultural significance missed will also be included.

City Hall is also asking for everyone to help with their information gathering on the map and anyone can contribute to the map.It is completely open source and all of the data from it can be downloaded , so take a glimpse and see if one of your favourite cultural places has been missed.

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