Cardboard City (London)

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The underpass between Waterloo Bridge and the Bullring roundabout in 2009, previously the site of Cardboard City

Cardboard City was the name for an area of cardboard boxes near Waterloo station in London, England, lived in by homeless people from 1983 until 1998.[1]

In the mid-1980s the site, in the pedestrian underpasses under the Bullring roundabout, was home to up to 200 people sleeping in cardboard boxes. By early 1998, fewer than 30 people remained there. These were officially evicted by the London Borough of Lambeth in February 1998, and forced to leave before the end of March 1998. All were offered free housing by the Borough, although there was concern as to whether the residents would be able to cope with housed life. The area is now the site of the London IMAX cinema.

The song "Cardboard Box City" by The Levellers (on their first album A Weapon Called the Word from 1990) is about this site and most people's ignorance towards those social living conditions. The song "Victoria Gardens" by Madness (on their 1984 album Keep Moving) refers directly to the plight of the homeless residents of Cardboard City. The main character of Rebuilding Coventry by Sue Townsend is described as living in Cardboard City for a time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Cardboard City' meets its Waterloo". BBC News. 1998-02-23. Retrieved 2008-07-07.

Coordinates: 51°30′18″N 0°6′49″W / 51.50500°N 0.11361°W / 51.50500; -0.11361