Essay collection

London Essays – Play

Parks, play-centres, comedy clubs and music venues are as essential to cities as markets, banks, hospitals and homes. This collection of essays explores the opportunities for play in the capital, from childhood to adulthood, and what it means for the economic, social and cultural life of the city.

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The 12 essays, written by a variety of authors to include Paul Hocker, Director of London Play and Holly Donagh, Partnerships Director at A New Direction, highlight the value of play for children and young people, but raise concerns about declining play opportunities; the privatisation of play space and cuts to investment and funding.

But the essays also show that adults are drawn to London, not just to work, but to play as well –  an important part of the London economy. Many innovative ideas, from the computer to the magazine, originated in play and amusement.

The essays draw attention to the worrying decline in London’s night time venues, including the closure of 58% of LGBTQ+ venues in the last decade, and the struggle of new forms of play, like improv, being held back by lack of space.

Read London Essays: Play

London Essays is a journal published by Centre for London. It explores the economic, social, and environmental challenges facing London and other cities, and ways they can be addressed.

The full list of contributors:


This publication has been generously supported by