East Bank

East Bank is a new powerhouse for innovation, creativity and learning on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is a unique collaboration between world-leading universities, arts and culture institution that opens up opportunities for everyone who visits, lives and works in east London.

The ambition of the project is recognised in the name - the East Bank - which will complement London's major cultural and education centres, such as the South Bank, the cluster of museums and academic institutions in South Kensington and the Knowledge Quarter around King's Cross and Bloomsbury.

Work is now well underway at Stratford Waterfront and UCL East to build the new culture and education district and visitors to the Park can see the new buildings emerging from the ground. The East Bank partners are also hard at work with local organisations and community groups to ensure that they shape what is offered at East Bank and that they can benefit from the many opportunities that will be created.

  • East Bank will bring an additional 1.5 million visitors to the Park and surrounding area each year
  • More than 2,500 jobs will be created in East Bank, and an estimated £1.5 billion generation for the local economy
  • Sadler's Wells East will open a 550-seat theatre and establish a new centre for choreographic practice and a hip hop academy, both of which will be the first of their kind in the country
  • UAL's London College of Fashion will integrate its six sites onto one campus, accommodating 6,500 students with their world-leading research community, business incubation and social enterpise centres
  • V&A East will display its world-famous collections at two sites with a new museum at Stratford Waterfront and the V&A Collection and Research at Here East
  • The Smithsonian Institution will establish a presence in London for the first time ever, in partnership with the V&A
  • The state of the art BBC music studios will provide a hub from which to celebrate music of all genres
  • UCL will create a new campus, UCL East, providing multi-disciplinary research, teaching and innovation, in areas such as robotics, smart cities, culture and conservation, for around 4,000 students
  • The London 2012 Games were a great success but the legacy would always be more than a wonderful summer of sport. Key to the long-term success is the impact of the wider regeneration of the area and the creation of new opportunities for Londoners for decades to come. 

    East Bank – one of the world’s largest and most ambitious culture and education districts - is central to that long-term legacy creating a powerhouse for artistic excellence, learning, research, performance and exhibitions. It represents a unique prospect for London and a concept that is almost unparalleled on the international stage. 

    World-renowned universities UCL (University College London) and UAL’s London College of Fashion will join the global cultural brands of the BBC, Sadler’s Wells and the V&A, including a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, to create this centre of innovation and ambition. This part of London has always been a place of firsts where canals and lock gates opened early industry; rockets and bone china were first fired; and Joan Littlewood transformed theatre into a people’s palace at Stratford Theatre Royal. 

    Spread across three sites on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East Bank will be at the heart of a growing cluster of commerce, technology, manufacture, retail, education and the creative arts delivering unprecedented new job opportunities in the digital age. 

    At Stratford Waterfront, UAL’s London College of Fashion will create a new campus for 6,500 students and staff with state-of-the-art facilities including public open spaces, galleries, library and archives. Sadler’s Wells will build a 550-seat theatre presenting the best UK and international dance work created for the mid-scale; establish a new choreographic centre and a hip hop theatre academy; and expand its learning and engagement programmes for schools and communities in east London. The BBC will build a new home for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC singers and rock and pop recording facilities with access to the public for performances. The V&A, including a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, will create a new museum to explore the V&A’s renowned collection, a co-curated space with the Smithsonian, pioneering exhibitions, gallery displays and spaces for community-led projects. 

    Just to the south, UCL will create a new university campus – UCL East - for 4,000 students and staff providing multi-disciplinary research, teaching and innovation in areas as diverse as robotics, smart cities, culture and conservation. UCL East will be embedded in the local community with public spaces and collaborations with schools, charities and community organisations. 

    In the north of the Park, just 10 minutes from Stratford Waterfront, the V&A will open a new Collection and Research Centre at Here East. In the heart of this innovation district the V&A will revolutionise access to the museum’s vast collection of art, design and performance. 

    East Bank is far more than a collection of cultural and university buildings. Its full potential lies in the opportunities it generates for local communities and local arts and educational organisations. The partners are already working on projects with local people and businesses such as EAST Education, which is raising aspiration and attainment in an area with one of the youngest populations in the country. Summer schools, classroom activities and events based around arts, music, science, fashion and technology will equip young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to take advantage of the jobs and opportunities being created. 

    The project will touch the lives of everyone living on, working in and visiting the Park.   

  • A world-class cultural and education district requires world-class partners. East Bank will bring together renowned institutions that for decades, if not centuries, have been at the forefront of artistic excellence, learning, research, creativity, curatorship and public engagement.


    A core purpose of the BBC is the performing, recording and broadcasting of live music across a full range of genres to the widest possible audience. The relocation of its music studios to East Bank is driven by this purpose and builds on the BBC’s role as Olympic Broadcaster. The new site will include state of the art recording facilities and will be the home of the world-renowned BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and BBC Singers, with a substantial presence from the BBC Concert Orchestra. It will host recording sessions and live performances across all genres from global stars to emerging talent. These facilities, alongside an extensive programme of learning and outreach projects and collaborations with partners in the cultural district, will contribute to establishing east London as a world destination for music.

    Sadler's Wells

    Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, its goal is to motivate everyone to experience dance – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired. Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions globally and online. Sadler’s Wells East will present the best UK and international work created for the mid-scale and offer life-changing training, development and learning opportunities through its choreographic centre, hip hop academy and participatory activities. This new space for dance will help to further develop the art form, reach wider audiences and establish London as the dance capital of the world.

    UAL's London College of Fashion

    Founded in 1906, London College of Fashion is a leader in fashion design, media and business education. Part of the University of the Arts London, it has been nurturing creative talent for over a century, offering courses in all things fashion. It encourages students to examine the past and challenge the present, to form their own ideas. 

    It gives them the skills, opportunities – and above all, the freedom – to put those ideas into practice. At Stratford Waterfront, digital developers will work alongside designers; psychologists will collaborate with image creators; and marketing theorists will join forces with curators. London College of Fashion, UAL will redefine what fashion is by connecting its range of disciplines for the first time and under one roof, and show London and the world what these possibilities look like.

    University College London

    UCL is recognised as one of the world’s top 10 universities and first in the UK for the strength of its research. Now, in the single biggest development since the university was founded nearly 200 years ago, UCL will create their new UCL East campus. Home to the new and pioneering, around 4,000 students and 260 academic staff will immerse themselves in issues of manufacturing, making, transport, artificial intelligence, sustainability, urbanisation, social inclusivity, and more. UCL’s two buildings will include cutting-edge laboratories and research space, state-of-the-art teaching facilities, student accommodation and accessible public spaces. The campus will break down conventional barriers across research, education, innovation and public engagement, and enable local collaborations with schools, charities and community organisations. As part of East Bank, UCL East will help to unlock the potential for Stratford and east London to become a world-class centre of achievement in science, technology, creativity and innovation.


    The V&A East project will create two ambitious and complementary new sites in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. At Stratford Waterfront, a brand-new museum will stage exhibitions, events and collaborations and promote diverse ideas, voices and new work. As well as permanent V&A displays, it will host a pioneering partnership with the Smithsonian Institution – uniting the two museums and their collections for the first time. 10-minutes’ walk away at Here East, a world-class collection and research centre will open up the V&A’s extensive collections with unprecedented access to thousands of objects not currently on display. This major new resource will be a creative sourcebook for all, from school pupils and students, to makers, creatives and researchers, as well as local communities and businesses, and visitors from across the country and around the world.

    Smithsonian Institution

    Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoo, and nine research facilities, ranging from astrophysics to endangered species. With its partner the V&A, the Smithsonian will co-curate exhibitions on global issues, which will draw from each museum’s collections. The Smithsonian will also use the museum for temporary exhibitions, and work with all of the partners on public programs and novel research.

    The Mayor of London 

    The Mayor of London has provided £385 million of funding to inspire a whole new generation of Londoners to pursue their creative ambitions. This new creative cluster will bring together world-leading cultural and educational institutions to give young Londoners the chance to explore career opportunities, create jobs for local people and provide an economic boost for the capital.

    Foundation for Future London

    Foundation for FutureLondon fundraises for the people, places and organisations of the East Bank, London’s new innovation, arts, and creative quarter. We work with east London, London, UK and global partners, philanthropists and funding foundations to create real opportunities for our local communities.


    London Legacy Development Corporation

    The London Legacy Development Corporation is the Mayor of London’s development corporation for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area. Working with the LLDC and with support for central government, the Mayor is working with local authorities, cultural businesses and venues, artists, creative entrepreneurs and civil society to make sure the full potential is realised for London and for Londoners.

  • The East Bank partners will be joining a thriving collection of creative and innovative organisations establishing east London as a powerhouse for artistic learning, research, performance and exhibitions. From Stratford Circus and the Theatre Royal in the south, to Hackney Wick and Fish Island and Here East in the north, there are a huge number of organisations who will contribute to and benefit from the new East Bank initiative.

    Work to forge the links between the partners, organisations and local community is underway to ensure the benefits of the new culture and education district spread well beyond the boundaries of the Park.

  • With thousands of jobs coming to east London, the East Bank partners are working hard to raise awareness of the opportunities to come and to ensure local people benefit.

    STEP Into Smithsonian

    Four young east Londoners were chosen to take part in a 3-week trip to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC to learn more about careers in the cultural sector.
    The article below about Beckton resident Chess Charles is reproduced courtesy of the Newham Recorder:

    Beckton woman hails 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience after Smithsonian museums internship

    Chess Charles from Beckton has just come back from three "incredible" weeks studying at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
    The 23-year-old said: "It was a wild and intense adventure. It was an unforgettable experience."
    During the trip, the former Kingsford Community School pupil met staff from across the Smithsonian's 20 museums including a "cool" insect expert who wowed his audience by telling them scorpions glow in the dark.
    "There was that kind of fun stuff as well as tours, trips and meeting collection managers," Chess said.
    But Chess reckoned she only covered about half of the Smithsonian's galleries and museums which contain a vast collection of the United States' national treasures.
    She explained that learning about efforts to take care of exhibits was especially interesting with some Native American artefacts not shown out of respect for tribes.
    This included a medicine pack which can't be exhibited because tribal rules mean no one can look at it.
    Initial introductions with the head of internships and fellowships, Eileen Graham, at the Smithsonian Castle. 
    Among the highlights for Chess was Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History which she described as similar to London's Science Museum.
    "It's super-fun," she said before explaining that visiting helped her decide to pursue a career in museum education.
    In a packed three weeks, Chess joined fellow interns on a trip to New York enjoying a visit to the headquarters of Magnum Photos an international photography cooperative.
    While on her US adventure, she stayed in an apartment opposite the Library of Congress in Capitol Hill owned by the Smithsonian - which is due to set up a UK outpost at the East Bank cultural quarter at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
    On the future, Chess - who doesn't have a degree - said: "It was interesting to see what you can still do without one.
    "There's hope there in terms of pathways into the museum industry and people being open-minded about where you come from.
    "I felt more hopeful coming back. I would one hundred percent recommend it."
    The London Legacy Development Corporation, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, along with the Foundation for Future London and Create Jobs, teamed up with the Smithsonian to fund the experience to boost the prospects of youngsters from the area.
    Building a future career
    Creating the new buildings for the East Bank partners is a huge undertaking that also creates opportunities for local people. Apprenticeships are being created in formwork, carpentry, groundworks, temporary electrics, document control, logistics and maintenance.
  • Creating the new buildings for the East Bank partners is a huge undertaking that also creates opportunities for local people. Apprenticeships are being created in formwork, carpentry, groundworks, temporary electrics, document control, logistics and maintenance.

    EAST Education 

    EAST Education is creating a distinctive approach to raising aspiration and attainment in children and young people by building their skills, knowledge and confidence in arts, science and technology.  This summer more than 300 local children aged 13-16 took part in a free two-week summer school on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With courses from archaeology and architecture to drones and dance, the children were able to enjoy a taste of the skills being brought to the Park by the East Bank partners.

    East Summer School


    BBC Proms – The Lost Words

    Audience members at the BBC’s Lost Words prom were invited to participate in the Dawn Chorus section of the concert, by playing downloads from their phones of various bird songs recorded around the country by leading nature sound recordist, Chris Watson. His soundscapes and field recordings were heard throughout the show, including material recorded at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of a BBC project to tie in with the Prom. A group of 30 young participants from the EAST Education Summer School had the chance to work with Chris to learn about field sound-recording.

    The Great Get Together

    Organised in partnership with the Jo Cox Foundation, the Great Get Together gave thousands of people the chance to try a range of activities staged by local organisations and the East Bank partners. More than 10,000 local people were able to enjoy family dance and singing workshops, hip hop classes, the Making Zone, sports events, performances from BBC Singers and the Chobham Academy Band.

    GGT dance workshop



  • Autumn 2018 Planning application for Stratford Waterfront submitted
    Autumn 2018 Fashion District is launched
    2019 Construction starts on UCL East
    2019 Construction starts on Stratford Waterfront
    2022         UCL East opens its first buildings to students
    2022 Sadler’s Wells and UAL’s London College of Fashion open
    2023 BBC Music and both V&A sites (including the partnership with Smithsonian Institution) open, as well as UCL East’s second building
  • Stratford Waterfront

    Planning permission has now been granted for both the Stratford Waterfront and UCL East elements of East Bank.

    You can view the planning applications on the Planning Register using reference number 18/00470/OUT for Stratford Waterfront and 17/00235/OUT for UCL East.

    To keep up to date on the project, sign up for regular updates on how the scheme progresses through construction at stratfordwaterfront.commonplace.is.