Check It Out: A Crossroads at The Southbank Undercroft

Posted on June 14 2013, 1:53pm | Author: R* K | Filed Under: Rockstar

We've had our own affection for the historic Undercroft at the Southbank Centre in London going back long before we featured it as one of the skateable spots in our 1999 PS1 title, Thrasher: Skate and Destroy.

Southbank has attracted skaters from all over England since the 1970s, becoming a focal point for the community and a powerful barometer for local talent. While their Californian counterparts were blessed with sunny skies and an abundance of empty swimming pools, Southbank's smooth concrete banks, stair sets and ledges proved to be just as full of potential for first wave freestylers and cruisers as they still are for modern street skating. The combination of covered all-weather skating and clear open space alongside the River Thames made the place ideal not only to skate, but also to just be a part of the scene.

There's always been something perfect about this small pocket of clattering boards and graffiti tucked defiantly beneath some of the city's key arts landmarks, such as Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward Gallery. The Undercroft brings skating right into the cultural heart of the city, now as much of a tourist draw as the postcard destinations above it and a reminder of just how far board (and BMX) culture has come.

Sadly, its future is uncertain. The Southbank Centre has announced plans to take over the space as part of its expansion, swapping the banks for a series of retail units. You can read about those plans in full at and if you like, sign the petition to help sustain a major piece of British skating history.

  • THE-LIGHT-DAYon July 5 2013, 10:08pmReplyFlag
    Wooow I Remember this
    When i was kid although it was skate park I used to ride my BMX and We will do stunts it was fun, great place
  • Lance-Wilsonon June 17 2013, 1:19pmReplyFlag
    cool to see support like this. i signed the petition a while ago. i've always wanted to skate there but not had the chance just yet. i'm not a skateboarder but can appreciate the history of this place and what it means to locals and everyone who travels from far to skate there. it's a landmark within a smaller culture than most sports/arts and might be looked at as "just another skatepark" but should be well kept and preserved as an important place for people to go and express their selves

    sign it :)
    • Genesicityon June 17 2013, 12:51amReplyFlag
      Haven't ridden a board in ages but this brought back some sweet memories,thanks for sharing the footage R*:)
      Sad that developers don't see these sweet spots as the historical landmarks they truly are :(
      • LewisMilleron June 16 2013, 9:21amReplyFlag
        You guys made Thrasher: Skate and Destroy! That game was bad (really bad) luckily it's the only bad game you've made.
        • MrLESLOon June 26 2013, 7:34amReplyFlag
          @LewisMiller To each his own; I spent countless hours playing Thrasher because it was a skating game that actually felt like skating. No silly objectives to stretch out gameplay, no collecting hidden tapes or anything else irrelevant, just a sole focus on skating. I still have very fond memories of it.

          EA's Skate has filled the void this generation, but I'd love to play a HD port of Thrasher: Skate and Destroy. I hope Rockstar make it happen!
      • D-N-A_919on June 16 2013, 5:35amReplyFlag
        Don't be surprised if R* puts a spot like this in GTA V lol I'm for real that would be blissful. I remember Thrasher and if skateboarding were incorporated into the new GTA as a surprise feature, a clone of the Undercroft would be heavenly to experience I gotta say...Southbank Undercroft clone in Los Santos FTW!! LOL
        • JonasREJCSon June 15 2013, 9:57pmReplyFlag
          When I was a kid I used to practice skateboarding with my neighborhoods, just for fun... I t was a good time!
          • toxiccaNNabison June 15 2013, 4:15pmReplyFlag
            Cool :) I'm always up for learning new things. Much appreciated R*
            • ITONYSOPRANOIon June 15 2013, 12:59pmReplyFlag
              Never been on a skateboard in my life. I'm afraid I'll bust my ass if I even attempt to step on one. Let's just say that I'm the opposite of legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk. We'll just leave it at that. Ha

              Cool vid up there btw! Quick question Rockstar - Are you fans of X Games during the bicycle and skating competitions?
              • ScrimpyFooton June 15 2013, 9:05amReplyFlag
                As a retired skater.......okay, fat guy who's too old and scared to step on the rolling plank of doom.....I'm so glad you brought this up on your site. I'm happy to lend my name to help save a piece of skater history. Having seen the death of many great skate spots here in my Midwestern American city, I saw this as a great cause to get behind because even a storied spot like Southbank means nothing to city developers. And living in cities that don't see perfect sunny weather year round means that the few spots you can skate year round are massively important.
              • Willraddon June 15 2013, 4:37amReplyFlag
                Please R *, for gta 5 and all subsequent games, the characters that allow control to be more agile,(the parkour please the parkour !!) they can climb everywhere, we want not necessarily pro-skat board but characters climb really anywhere! You make beautiful maps, but can not climb everywhere and it's really really a waste of space! ;)

                Please try games like infamous, or even "sleeping dogs" or even "mirror edge" combier to the "parkour" and guns-fight would gta 5 something important to change some series gta. ;-)

                (otherwise it must wait for the pc and mods version is a bit irritating because even then we always have what we hope ^ ^)

                Long live the "parkour" :

                a player who plays every day in your games! ;-)
                • Oblivionskateon June 14 2013, 8:31pmReplyFlag
                  sooo you make great games and support us skateboarders? Love R*!!!
                • acejoeyon June 14 2013, 7:29pmReplyFlag
                  I live in London and love Southbank. I don't (can't) skate but the area is always amazing to see. The people enjoying a passion and the art work given from some amazingly talented people. I will be there chained to a post if it will stop these plans. Thank you R* for promoting this.
                  • scareface1970on June 14 2013, 5:52pmReplyFlag
                    This brings back the good old days, skateboarding was my thing back in my days. Yeah friends skateboarding has been coming from the late 1940s or early 1950s.

                    A day with Skateboarding, and trying to make crafitie art with good music like Suicidal Tendencies. Yeah, we listened to this Skate punk when we did our skate moves.

                    Btw: I also want to share this GTA San Andreas crafitie art that i found.

                    I like the video, thanks for sharing this ***Rockstar*** :D :D :D
                    • Rod266on June 14 2013, 4:22pmReplyFlag
                      Well, I suppose it is nice to see R* caring about a place like this to preserve history!

                      I love how Rockstar always remembers past games and never forgets where they came from. That is something very valuable and makes Rockstar great
                      • mudezenon June 14 2013, 3:58pmReplyFlag
                        I hope you guys @R* are working on a skate game for next gen which will be as good as Table Tennis
                        • jonhyosbourneon June 14 2013, 3:31pmReplyFlag
                          a little more knowledge, culture :)
                          thanks for share R*
                          • Pac93Gamingon June 14 2013, 3:27pmReplyFlag
                            I`m a skater and i`m glad to see R* Posting about Skateboarding , i Hope we see some skate Scenes in GTA V

                            • Couregexon June 14 2013, 4:07pmReplyFlag
                              @Pac93Gaming This isn't Twitter.
                            • Rod266on June 14 2013, 4:26pmReplyFlag
                              @Pac93Gaming Yeah, seriously, this isn't Twitter or Instagram. Just don't don't turn this like Facebook where all them stupid btches are posting hashtags. Hashtags are useful in Twitter and Instagram because they help you find posts. This is just a waste
                          • S_MROZon June 14 2013, 3:22pmReplyFlag
                            It's awesome to see R* recognising this. Thrasher skate and destroy is the still one of the best skateboarding games ever made not to mention one of the most innovative. No doubt i'll be looking out for famous LA skate spots in GTA V! Thanks R*!
                            • southparkmayoron June 14 2013, 3:07pmReplyFlag
                              This is a subliminal message confirming skateboards in V
                            LOAD ALL COMMENTS

                            Leave a Comment

                            Rockstar Warehouse

                            Rockstar on Instagram

                            Follow us on Instagram (rockstargames) to see original photos including events, sneak peeks of collectibles and much more.