A new museum will open in the heart of London. Dubbed ‘Britain’s missing museum’, it will explore how the movement of people from all over the world to the capital and the country, has shaped lives.
The Museum of Migration is set to get a new home in the City of London along with over 700 new student rooms. A five-storey 1980s office block at 65 Crutched Friars is set to be bulldozed and replaced by a new 21-storey building full of studio apartments and shared accommodations.
The museum is set to have two floors of exhibition space and a third floor for events, while the remaining floors will contain studio apartments and shared accommodation for students. In total there will be 769 rooms, 35per cent of which will be classed as affordable housing.
A new public courtyard will also be created by Northumberland Alley and a new pocket park will appear on Rangoon Street. The site will become the permanent home for the museum which is currently based in Lewisham. The bottom three floors of the tower block will include a cafe and a shop.
But the project has faced complaints from nearby residents, particularly about the large number of student flats. According to one resident, the new block would mean there are four times as many students as residents in the Tower Hill area.
Another resident Camila Blower complained to the City of London’s planning committee: “If this application was for the Migration Museum coupled with office space, a hotel or something more consistent with the character of the area some 60 persons would not have objected.
She added: “An extra 25 big deliveries will be required by the students each day. When you put the Migration Museum’s requirements into the occasion alongside almost 800 students worth of Deliveroos, Ubers etc. The traffic becomes dangerous.”
But council officers pointed out there are two student accommodations nearby and there have been no complaints from one premise. There have been four historic complaints on nearby Vine Street but officers said 24-hour security has been able to deal with issues and there have not been any reoccurrences since the last incident in May 2022.
Real estate company Dominus has agreed to house the museum rent-free for 60 years, while also covering its operating costs for three years. The developer has also donated £500,000 to support its fundraising campaign. The City of London’s committee also heard the museum was looking to raise £15 million to set up the project.
The scheme was approved by the City of London’s Planning Committee on 21 February.
Following the meeting City of London’s Planning Chairman, Shravan Joshi, said: “This development will bring new life to the eastern part of the City and an economic boost to the Square Mile. As a melting pot of different nationalities and backgrounds, the City is a fitting home for the Migration Museum as it celebrates diversity and inclusion.
“This is a key part of the City’s success so we are proud to provide a permanent home for the Migration Museum given its national significance. It will also add to our existing cultural offer and support our Destination City vision to make the Square Mile a seven-day-a-week visitor destination.
“We carefully considered, including through an independent review, the possibility of retaining this site for office use, whether through refurbishing or rebuilding, but our conclusion was that such a scheme would not be financially viable, therefore a change of use was appropriate in this case.”
Migration Museum CEO Sophie Henderson added: “We are delighted to have secured this opportunity for a permanent home for the Migration Museum.
“We are creating Britain’s missing museum, exploring how the movement of people to and from the City, London and the UK has shaped who we all are today – as individuals, as communities and as nations.
“And there is no more fitting location for the Migration Museum than in the heart of the City of London, Britain’s gateway to the world for thousands of years.”