Category: People


Sir Quentin Blake backs the Bexley bid!

World famous illustrator and author Sir Quentin Blake has backed Bexley’s bid to become London Borough of Culture!

In a letter of support Sir Quentin told the Council’s Chief Executive Gill Steward:

“It is with the greatest of pleasure that I would like to add my support to the London Borough of Bexley’s bid to become the London Borough of Culture” and that he would be “truly delighted to see the borough win such a tremendous accolade”.

The full letter of support is reproduced below.

Quentin Blake Bexley LB Culture letter


London Borough of Bexley backs the Bexley bid

This video of support from senior Council Officers and Members outlines why winning the London Borough of Culture bid would be so key to the borough.

The statements are available as individual clips below.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE
Leader of the Council

Cllr Peter Craske
Cabinet lead for Culture

Gill Steward
Chief Executive

Toni Ainge
Deputy Director for Communities

Jane Richardson
Assistant Chief Executive Regeneration and Growth

Paul Moore
Director of Place Communities and Infrastructure

Jacky Tiotto
Director of Children’s Services

Richard Blakeway
Chairman of BexleyCo

Michael Bate
Head of Finance

Dr Anjan Ghosh
Director of Public Health

Stuart Rowbotham
Director of Adults Services


Sir Peter Bazalgette backs the Bexley bid!

Sir Peter Bazalgette – lead on the independent review for the Government into the Creative Industries, Chairman of ITV, president of Crossness Engines Trust and former chair of Arts Council England – has pledged his firm support for Bexley’s bid to become London Borough of Culture.

Sir Peter Bazalgette provided a personal message to an audience at a special business and key stakeholder event at Hall Place earlier this week (21 November) via video. In giving his wholehearted support to Bexley’s bid, he talked about the power of arts and culture, in its intrinsic value, but also in its ability to build community identity and cohesion. He talked about the way culture delivers enormous social benefits, how it supports education and skills and of the significance of the creative economy.  He also noted how Bexley is perfectly positioned to be at the centre of the emerging Thames Estuary Cultural Production Corridor opportunity.


We’re listening

By Sandra Bruce-Gordon, #backthebexleybid team

Colourful image of masks

Masks by Segun Oratokhai

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the public launch of our bid.  Not only have we been analysing all the comments that came in, but we’ve also looked at all the information that was given to us by participants at our partner and stakeholder workshops.

The London Borough of Culture is all about people and places. The winning boroughs will be chosen based on their artistic vision and ambition to deliver outstanding cultural initiatives in their local area, putting communities at the centre of their programme design and delivery.

Your support is helping us to shape our bid. We want to ensure that it is truly representative of your ambitions for culture in the future, while celebrating what Bexley already has and building upon it to give you the outcomes you want.

I’ve been talking to our community culture ‘champions’. I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to those who have offered help to embed the community vision into our bid, not only by providing information but committing to taking part in this exciting journey and working in partnership to regenerate the borough through culture.

Thanks also to Centrepieces and Christie who led a special workshop ‘Naming on stones’ – part of the Never Forget sculpture – at our public launch. This involved putting the names of all the local veterans who died in World War 1 onto stones, which will form part of the Centrepieces’ Art in Hall Gardens sculpture to be installed in November.

It was fantastic and I hope it helped raised awareness of the charity’s work, which is captured on its website.

We look forward to working in partnership with Centrepieces and supporting them in their development.


What makes Bexley so special?

By Cllr Peter Craske, Cabinet member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, London Borough of Bexley

#backthebexleybid logo

In July I took on a challenge – to visit as many of our great cultural sites as possible in one day.

Over eight hours we criss-crossed the Borough and visited 14 places, from public art in Crayford to the history of the Red House, via sports facilities of the highest quality, ending our day at Hall Place.

And we could do the same again and visit completely different places.

It is easy to take for granted all the great things we have here, on our doorstep. Spending a day travelling round seeing it all really reminded me how lucky we are and showed me that we all need to take a moment and look at what we have here to see.

Right here, we have Lesnes Abbey, built in 1187, on land that dates back 65 million years; Danson House, renovated and then re-opened by Her Majesty The Queen right in the middle of one of London’s greatest parks. And if sewage is your thing, and even if it isn’t, right by the river Thames is Crossness Engines, an outstanding piece of Victorian engineering.

It’s not just about buildings, it’s also about people. We have, with Rose Bruford and Bird College, two of the country’s leading theatre and performing arts centres, powerhouses of talent nurturing movie stars and dancers.

And it’s about celebrating our past – just a century ago, the first aeroplane to cross the Atlantic was built in Crayford, at the Vickers factory opposite where our library is now.

That’s why we want to be London Borough of Culture – to celebrate all these great places together, and tell everyone across London, and the country that Bexley is not just one of the greatest place to live in the UK, it is one of the greatest places to visit.