Proposal could see museum move to Smithfield site by 2021

Museum of London

Source: Flickr

The Museum of London has confirmed plans to relocate to Smithfield market from it’s current site in the Barbican by 2021.

Museum director Sharon Ament said the aim was to create a museum that could handle more visitor numbers, which have doubled over the past few years.

Ament said: “If we are to continue to excite and engage visitors and become more sustainable by standing more firmly on our own two feet, we need to ensure our building and galleries are up to the challenge and match the best that London has to offer.”

The move could pave the way for the Museum of London’s current site on London Wall to be used as the site for a new world-class concert hall in London. The City of London Corporation has earmarked the area around the Barbican, incorporating London Wall, for an expanded cultural quarter.

Building reported last month that a state-of-the-art music concert hall could be built in the road tunnel under the Barbican complex and plans for a new concert hall have been backed by George Osborne.

The Museum of London is working with Smithfield architect John McAslan on its move plans. McAslan’s original proposals for Smithfield were thrown out by communities secretary Eric Pickles last July. At the time developer Henderson, which has a 999-year lease on the site, said it had no plans to sell up, potentially condemning the crumbling Victorian buildings to an uncertain fate.

The proposals look revive the western end of the famous market, which has fallen into disrepair in the past decade. Speaking of the move Ament added: “Of course there are many issues to be resolved before opening a new museum not least of which is a proper negotiation on the price for the site as well as a number of other conditions being met.

“In close collaboration with the City of London Corporation and Greater London Authority, we will contribute to our shared goal of making the local area a world-class cultural hub. With this new ambition we enter the most exciting time so far in the Museum of London’s history.”

Smithfield Quarter Farringdon Charterhouse

The original Smithfield scheme which was thrown out by Eric Pickles