Museum of London submits plans to create a new world-class cultural destination in West Smithfield

10 January 2020

  • The Museum of London has submitted a planning application to create a new, world-class museum within a series of historic buildings at West Smithfield

  • If the plans are approved the new museum - one of the biggest cultural projects happening anywhere in Europe – will become one of the top ten visitor attractions in London, capable of welcoming over two million people a year

  • The submission follows a comprehensive programme of public engagement, to which the Museum welcomed thousands of Londoners and visitors and demonstrated widespread support for the plans

The Museum of London has announced that it has submitted a planning application to the City of London Corporation that seeks to transform a campus of market buildings in West Smithfield into a world-class, 24-hour cultural destination.

The proposals seek to preserve much of the historic fabric of the old market buildings that make up the site, some of which date back to the Victorian era and have fallen into disrepair, by making relatively few contemporary interventions. The cavernous and atmospheric spaces that exist both above and below ground would serve as display, exhibition, learning and events space, within which the museum will host a broader and more diverse range of exhibitions and activities than ever before in order to broaden its visitor profile and redefine what a museum can be.

Designed by the architectural team of Stanton Williams and Asif Khan with Julian Harrap Architects, the aspiration for this new museum is for it to become one of the top ten attractions in the capital, capable of welcoming over two million visitors a year.

The submission of a planning application is the latest milestone for the project, which was formally announced in 2015. The City of London Corporation will now assess the application, before its elected Planning and Transportation Committee take a decision on whether to approve the plans later this year.

If planning consent is granted the new Museum of London, one of the biggest cultural projects happening in Europe, would become one of the highlights of the City of London’s Culture Mile. Located in the north-western part of the City, it will significantly contribute to the revitalisation of the Smithfield area by building on the opportunities presented by the new Elizabeth line at Farringdon Station.

A comprehensive programme of engagement with Londoners has been ongoing since the plans to move the Museum of London from London Wall to West Smithfield were revealed in 2015, which has demonstrated widespread support for the proposals with 96% of respondents in favour of the plans. The main phase of this public engagement revolved around a series of exhibitions of the proposals that the museum held at West Smithfield and at London Wall in July 2019, to which it welcomed thousands of visitors from across the capital and beyond.

Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said:

“This is an important milestone for the project, as we formally set out our plans to transform the West Smithfield site and in doing so transform the idea of what a museum can be. It has been four years of hard work by a dedicated and talented project team in order to get here and, while we still have a while to go and money to raise before we open the doors to the new Museum, this is nevertheless a significant step forward to turning our vision into reality.

Paul Williams OBE, Principal Director at Stanton Williams, said:

"The opportunity to help reinvent, reimagine and transform a group of existing Market Buildings into a 21st century museum is an extraordinary opportunity – especially in an area of London so rich in history. Smithfield is a perfect location for the Museum of London, the place itself has so many stories to be told, and traces of the past to engage with.”

The City of London Corporation has made an unprecedented investment into the project by putting forward £197 million of the £337 million needed to deliver the scheme. This includes an additional £5 million that was approved by the Court of Common Council in September 2019. A capped contribution of £70m has also been made by the Mayor of London, which was announced in January 2017.

The Museum of London has continued in its fundraising efforts, securing a total of £28 million so far, leaving a further £42 million to raise before the project is delivered. It has already received generous donations of £10m from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and their affiliated Charity, £10m from the Linbury Trust and £5m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Global law firm, DLA Piper, is the project’s inaugural Corporate Champion.

The Planning Application covers the General Market, Poultry Market and a suite of buildings known as The Annexe, which includes the Fish Market, Red House and Engine House. A Listed Building Consent Application for the Grade II-listed Poultry Market has also been submitted.

-ENDS-
NOTES FOR EDITORS

For more press information please contact:

Laura Bates
Assistant Head of Communications
Museum of London
[email protected] 07966 990 816

Declan Bennett
Account Manager
London Communications Agency
[email protected] 07952 835

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

The Museum of London is on the move. We want to tell the extraordinary story of London and Londoners in a new museum in West Smithfield, which itself is a deeply fascinating and historic area. We want to engage Londoners with their city and its history and display many more objects from our rich collection. Further information about the move and plans so far: http://museum.london/ #NewMuseum


About the Planning Application

The Museum of London has submitted a Planning Application for:

General Market
Partial demolition, repair, refurbishment and extension of the existing building known as the General Market at 43 Farringdon Street on the basement, ground, first and roof levels; creation of a new entrance structure on West Poultry Avenue (and associated refurbishment of the existing canopy over West Poultry Avenue) with new facades to West Smithfield and Charterhouse Street; new entrances on the corner of Farringdon Street and Charterhouse Street; Change of use to provide a museum and ancillary uses and areas, together with a flexible retail, restaurant, drinking establishment and leisure (gym) use for the perimeter 'houses'.

Poultry Market
Partial demolition, repair, refurbishment and alteration of the existing building known as the Poultry Market, Charterhouse Street at basement, ground and first levels; change of use to a museum and ancillary uses and areas.

Annexe Site (Red House, Iron Mountain, Fish Market and Engine House)
Partial demolition, refurbishment and extension of the existing buildings known as the Annexe Site at 25 Snow Hill and 29 Smithfield Street at basement, ground, first, second and third levels; creation of a triple height canopy above a public realm space; change of use to a flexible museum, offices, retail, restaurant, drinking establishment, events and functions use. Refurbishment of and minor alterations to the existing building known as the Engine House at West Smithfield at basement and ground levels; Change of use to a flexible retail and museum use.

The Museum of London has submission a Listed Building Consent Application for:
Part demolition, repair, and refurbishment of the building known at the Poultry Market, Charterhouse Street at ground, first and basement levels, associated with a change of use of the building to provide a museum and ancillary uses and areas; including: works associated with an entrance structure on West Poultry Avenue; internal alterations including creation of a part new first floor; fabric removal and refurbishment on all floors; replacement glazing; facade cleaning and other façade repair; levelling of ground floor; works of repair to the roof; installation of new heating and cooling equipment; new M&E services; repurposing of the south service bay and associated infill structure; remodelling of the north service bay; internal decoration; replacement balustrade; and other associated works as shown on the submitted plans and drawings.

About the City of London Corporation:
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About Culture Mile
Led by the City of London Corporation with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, Culture Mile’s five core partners are leading the transformation of the area, improving their offer to audiences with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week. Stretching just under a mile from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile has creative exchange, cultural collaboration, and learning at its core in an area where 2,000 years of history collide with the world’s best in culture.

About the Goldsmiths’ Company
The Goldsmiths’ Company received its Royal Charter in 1327 and celebrates its 700th anniversary in 2027. One of the twelve major Livery Companies of the City of London, today the purpose of the Goldsmiths' Company is to contribute to national life by supporting its related crafts, industry and trade and through wider charitable and educational activity. The Company’s Assay Office has been responsible since 1300 for testing the quality of precious metals. The Company is the principal patron of contemporary jewellers and silversmiths, continuing to play an important role in support of the craft by funding apprenticeships and assisting with the technical training of aspiring designer-makers. In 2012, the Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell was opened, a state-of-the-art facility comprised of workshops, exhibition space and conference facilities.

In addition, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity supports a range of charitable causes and educational projects with schools and teachers. Read about some of our most recently supported charities here. The Goldsmiths’ Company’s private collection of silver is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, comprising 9,000 items dating from 1300 to the present day. Its contemporary collections are world renowned.

About the design team
The design team comprises of Stanton Williams and Asif Khan, working with the conservation architect Julian Harrap. They won the international design competition to design the new museum at West Smithfield. Their proposed scheme was an outstanding example of London creativity and showed innovative thinking, sensitivity to the heritage of the existing market buildings and an understanding of the practicalities of creating a great museum experience.

Stanton Williams Stanton Williams is an award-winning architecture practice, with a reputation for carefully crafted architecture. Founded by Alan Stanton OBE and Paul Williams OBE in 1985, it has successfully completed over 350 architectural, urban design, master-planning, exhibition and interior design projects, winning more than 150 prestigious industry awards including the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize for the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge. Recent London work has included the ‘Open Up’ transformation of the Royal Opera House and the new Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. www.stantonwilliams.com

Asif Khan is a research and development-led architecture studio who design buildings, landscapes, exhibitions and installations, amongst other things. The practice explores how material and social innovations can fundamentally alter the way people experience and shape their environment. Asif Khan was awarded an MBE for services to Architecture in 2017 and his studio was named ‘Architects of the Year’ by the German Design Council in 2018. He designed the award-winning UK Pavilion at Astana Expo in 2017, the Hyundai Pavilion at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and is currently working on the Tselinny Centre of Contemporary Culture in Almaty and the Dubai Expo 2020 public realm. www.asif-khan.com

Julian Harrap Architects is a distinguished medium-sized architectural practice specialising in the repair and restoration of historic buildings, estates and landscapes and the design of extensions and new buildings in historic settings. Their projects have included The Monument in the City of London, the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Neues Museum in Berlin.