£180m boost for Museum of London move to Smithfield

Proposed design of permanent galleries for Museum of London's new Smithfield site.

The Museum of London’s plans to move to Smithfield Market were dealt a major boost yesterday after the City of London Corporation and Mayor of London pledged a £180 million funding package.

The museum announced plans to relocate to the derelict market last year, blaming lack of available space for expansion at its current Barbican site.

The City of London Corporation announced it would give £110 million towards the project’s £250m cost, while mayor Sadiq Khan pledged £70 million.

The new building will give the museum 8,000sq m (86,000sq ft) of permanent gallery space and 1,500sq m of temporary exhibition space in the hope of doubling the number of annual visitors from 1 million to 2 million.

Positioned next to the new Crossrail transport hub at Farringdon, the plans will also give the museum a street-level entrance for the first time, after 40 years high above the Barbican roundabout.

Architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan were appointed to oversee the design, which will save one of the last remaining derelict Victorian structures in central London. A planning application will be made in 2018 and the museum hopes to open its new home to the public in 2022.

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Museum of London director Sharon Ament, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and City of London Corporation policy chairman Mark Boleat at the West Smithfield site.

Touring the West Smithfield site, the Mayor described the project as “the jewel in the crown” for the Capital.

The world’s greatest city deserves the world’s greatest museum,” he said.

“It will reveal 2,000 years of fascinating London history for Londoners, visitors and every schoolchild in the capital.

“It will rejuvenate West Smithfield, protecting its heritage while also creating a dynamic new public space – strengthening London’s credentials as an international powerhouse for culture.”

Mark Boleat, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation: “It is widely recognised that the current building at London Wall does not allow the Museum to expand and flourish, and that the former market buildings are in a poor state of repair.”

“The approval of this significant contribution makes good business sense and is a major step forward towards the creation of a new Museum of London, both iconic in design and unparalleled in the way in which it tells the capital’s vibrant history.”

The museum will need to raise the remaining £70 million required donations from the private sector, charitable foundations and individuals.