London History Day

Celebrate London’s extraordinary history and heritage with activities at Southbank Centre at London History Day.

This day was chosen by Historic England to celebrate the rich and diverse history of London.
Southbank Centre's archive reflects over six decades of our history. One of the most unique objects in our entire collection is the Patchwork of the Century. This large scale quilt was made for Festival of Britain in 1951 and on permanent display in Royal Festival Hall. Made by women’s groups and consisting of 100 individual patches, made of recycled material, each path represents a different event in British history.

We have chosen this special object as inspiration for an afternoon of activities exploring London in the early 1950s.

London History Day Schedule

12 noon – 12.15pm: Performance by The Nightingales
Join us for a performance by The Nightingales, a local choir based at Blackfrairs Settlement. The Nightingales are kicking of London History Day with songs about London in this special pop-up performance.

12.15pm – 12.30pm: Southbank Centre and Festival of Britain
A short interactive talk exploring Southbank Centre's origins and Festival of Britain (1951), plus our roots in 1950s London.

12.30pm – 12.45pm: Brief City Film (1952) screening
A screening of Brief City, a short documentary made by The Central Office of Information in 1952 about Festival of Britain.

12.30pm – 3pm: Meet The Archive
Get hands on with rarely seen original 1950s material. This includes original programmes, diaries, photographs and more from the 1950s. This is a drop-in session.

12.30pm – 3pm: Patchwork of the Century Viewing
Join us as one of our Heritage Team takes you around our building, where you can discover some of the hidden stories behind the extraordinary Patchwork of the Century. This is a drop-in session.

1pm – 3pm: Quilting workshop
Join us as London Modern Quilt Guild lead a quilting workshop inspired by our Patchwork of the Century. All material is provided. Places are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

London History Day Bite
1pm – 1.30pm: Lucy Porten, National Trust
Join National Trust curator Lucy Porten as she leads a special short talk for London History Day.

2pm – 2.30pm: Heritage of Craft and Making at the Women's Institute
Join Jane Probitts, Chair of the Craft Committee at the Women's Institute. In this interactive talk Jane speaks about the long and rich history of craft and making in the Women's Institute.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Archive Studio, Level 2