In May, 2008, renowned street artist Banksy held the first Cans Festival in the Leake Street Tunnel. The play on the famous French film festival was a debut of the works of 29 famous street artists invited personally by Banksy, including one of the godfathers of stencil art, Blek le Rat.
Each artist began spraying down a section of wall with their own personal style, showcasing their work and starting a trend that changed Leake Street forever. Only six months after the festival, the road under the former Eurostar station passed into the control of Network Rail and the tunnel was made pedestrian only. Since that time, it has remained a hands-off graffiti area, where artists can show their work without arrest.
Everyday, artists work calmly and without fear as they decorate the walls and the ceiling with vivid color, designs and tags, creating a magnificent urban art gallery beneath Waterloo station.