Scheme to relocate museum from the Barbican to Smithfield has gone up by 30%

The Museum of London is talking to Sadiq Khan and the City of London Corporation as part of efforts to fill a £100m funding gap in the scheme to relocate its base to Smithfield Market.

Yesterday Building revealed the budget for the museum’s new home had risen by 30% to £437m due to “programme delays, inflation and other factors”.

Museum of London 4

Construction work in Smithfield’s General Market building

Half of the scheme, which is being built by Sir Robert McAlpine and has been designed by Stanton Williams, Asif Khan and Julian Harrap, will also open up to two years behind schedule because of the spiralling cost.

The project had been set a budget of £337m at the start of construction in early 2020, before the soaring inflation in construction materials caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under its original funding arrangements, the mayor of London and the museum were both to provide £70m with the City shelling out the rest.

The museum has now said: “We are in close discussion with the Greater London Authority and City of London Corporation about the revised budget.

“We have already raised a record amount for this project and, with their support, we are moving forwards with confidence.”

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “The Museum of London is a significant part of the city’s cultural heritage and we will continue to support the transformation project.

”We remain committed to working with the Museum of London, to explore other funding opportunities to address this shortfall.”

A spokesperson for the mayor of London said: “The mayor remains committed to providing the new Museum of London with a £70 million investment, and continues to support the museum and the City of London in creating a robust funding strategy for this landmark project.

”The new museum will be a fantastic addition to our city, creating jobs and securing our position as a global creative capital as we build a better London for everyone.”

The project team also includes cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald, enabling works contractor Keltbray, project manager Buro Four, planning consultants Gerald Eve and Donald Insall Associates, structural engineer AKT II and services engineer Arup. 

The half of the museum located with Smithfield’s 19th century General Market building, where most of the historic collections will be exhibited, is still due to open on schedule in 2026.