Plans approved for new London museum

The City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee has approved plans for the Museum of London to create a new museum within the historic buildings of West Smithfield. The plans were announced in 2015. The cultural project will tell the story of London and its citizens and display more than 7 million objects from the London Collection. It is hoped the museum will open in 2024.

The project intends to ‘redefine what it means to be a 21st century museum for London’. The Museum of London said that not only will the venue give learning opportunities to every London school child, but also mean a sustainable, secure future for the historic market buildings.

Many of the buildings at the Smithfield site date back to the Victorian Era and are currently suffering from significant disrepair. As part of the renovation for the new museum the historic fabric of the buildings will be preserved to ‘create cavernous and atmospheric spaces both above and below ground’.

The Museum of London’s design team is led by architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan, working with conservation architect Julian Harrap.

The Director of the Museum of London, Sharon Ament, said the new museum offers a new future for the Smithfield site. ‘The market buildings themselves enable us to create a set of galleries, show spaces, meeting rooms, exhibitions, places to eat, to learn, to meet friends, to work, to delve into London’s past, present and even to imagine possible futures,’ she said.

‘We will open these extraordinary buildings bringing them back into public use, at a time when Londoners are yearning to better understand who we are and how our city has developed,’ she added.

The Museum of London will now continue to work closely with the City of London Corporation to ensure the necessary legal agreements are in place before works start in 2021.

The project has received investment from the City of London Corporation (£197m), the Mayor of London (£70m), the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and their affiliated Charity (£10m), the Linbury Trust (£10m), and £5m in initial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Museum of London has raised £27m so far, leaving a further £43m to hit the £337m total before the project is delivered.