Designs for Museum of London’s new West Smithfield home revealed

  • The plans showcase the transformation of a campus of beautiful yet dilapidated market buildings in West Smithfield into a world-class, 24-hour cultural destination, with content-rich displays set inside atmospheric exhibition spaces.
  • Designed by award-winning architectural team, Stanton Williams and Asif Khan with Julian Harrap Architects, the plans secure the future of the West Smithfield buildings and celebrate the historic buildings of West Smithfield, while creating a unique and memorable visitor experience.
  • The museum is set to become a Top 10 London attraction, capable of welcoming over two million people a year
  • The new home of the Museum will allow the creation of a world-class learning centre and be an integral part of the City’s Culture Mile.

The Museum of London has unveiled designs for its new home in West Smithfield, with plans to create a new world-class, 24-hour cultural destination in the historic heart of the capital.
The designs go on display within the currently derelict West Smithfield site from Friday 5 July, as well as at the Museum of London’s existing London Wall site. Visitors will be able to see and comment on the latest plans and ambitions for one of the biggest cultural projects underway in Europe, including how the design team, led by Stanton Williams and Asif Khan with Julian Harrap Architects, have celebrated the architecture of the West Smithfield buildings, which are in desperate need of repair and renewal.
With more space to create blockbuster exhibitions with a broader appeal, the museum will recast its relationship with London and Londoners and secure its place as one of the Top 10 attractions in London. The exhibitions would display more of the museum’s amazing collection – showcasing everything from fashion to fatbergs – and would be set inside atmospheric spaces, making use of the historic buildings both above and below the ground.
The plans would also see the museum become a world-class centre for learning and able to fulfil the museum’s ambitions to reach every London school child and enhance their learning experience. In addition and reflecting the 24-hour Farringdon location, the museum will increase its night-time offer, playing a major role in the capital’s night-time economy.

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

“The new Museum of London will transform what a museum should be as we will become a shared space in the middle of it all, in the middle of London and in the middle of ideas and our shared history. As people will see from our latest design concepts, it will be a totally porous space available night and day to welcome all of London’s visitors . We’ll showcase the London Collection, our 7 million objects, and tell the story of London and Londoners in some of the best examples of British architecture in the city. An integral part of the Culture Mile, the new museum will educate in a world class learning centre, inspire with our high – impact exhibitions and be a space where people come together to relax and reflect in the centre of everything.”

“It’s been remarkable working with such a creative group of architects and designers who have delved deeply into an equally remarkable set of buildings. We’re looking f orward to sharing the plans and hearing people’s feedback which we’ll reflect on as we progress into creating more detailed designs in the coming months.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, at the City of London Corporation, said:

“The new Museum of Lond on will be a welcome addition to the City of London’s Culture Mile, an asset for Londoners, and undoubtedly a very popular destination for anyone with a thirst for learning about the capital’s rich and vibrant history.
“The arts and culture sector is essen tial to the Square Mile, not just because it enriches people’s lives, but also because creative businesses contribute a huge amount to the UK’s economy.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

‘This spectacular new home for the Museum of London will cement it s place as one of our city’s cultural gems and open up the museum at all times of the day. It is a landmark project that will reveal the fascinating history of our city to millions of Londoners and visitors to the capital every year.’
Paul Williams OBE, Principal Director at Stanton Williams, said:
“Working together as a team – Stanton Williams and Asif Khan with Julian Harrap Architects – have been entrusted with one of the biggest projects of cultural reimagining in London – transforming the historically charged but derelict parts of the late 19th century West Smithfield market into a living museum for the 21st century.

In its new home at West Smithfield, the Museum of London will be an anchor for Culture Mile, a major init iative that will create a vibrant destination for culture and creativity at the heart of the city.”
The Museum of London has an updated budget of £332m for the new museum. This responds to the detailed studies on the historic buildings, which date back to the 19th Century, and the

increased investment needed to bring them back into use, as well as the design solutions required to adapt them into a world-class museum. It has already secured a significant amount of funding for the project, including £192m from the City of London Corporation and a capped contribution of £70m from the Mayor of London.

The museum has a fundraising target of £70m and has already raised £26.5m, leaving a further £44m to raise. This includes 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 aim is to submit a planning application by the end of 2019, with the opening expected in 2024. Once complete, the new museum would become an integral part of Culture Mile, a partnership led by the City of London Corporation with the Barbican Centre, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London.


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