Plans approved to create new London Museum and regenerate Smithfield

The Museum of London was today given the green light by the City of London Corporation’s Planning Applications Sub-Committee for updated plans to create a new, world-class cultural destination within a series of historic buildings in West Smithfield.

The approved plans mean a secure, sustainable future for the historic market buildings that make up the site, many of which date back to the Victorian Era. The New Museum will become one of London’s top ten visitor attractions and a jewel of the Culture Mile, generating significant economic benefits and bringing over two million visitors a year to the Smithfield area.

Much of the historic fabric of the buildings will be preserved to create cavernous and atmospheric spaces both above and below ground. These spaces will allow the museum to showcase more of its collection and be capable of hosting a broader range of displays, exhibitions, learning activities and events. Through the project, the ambition is to reach every schoolchild in London, providing a world-class learning offer to help the next generation develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the great city they live in.

The planning application from the museum covers the General Market and Poultry Market, where the new museum will be based, 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 secured. 

The plans approved today include minor alterations to the design of the scheme, which was originally granted planning consent in June 2020.

The new Museum of London – to be rebranded The London Museum – will play a key role in the City of London Corporation’s Destination City initiative, which is transforming the Square Mile’s leisure offer to create a leading destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

Sharon Ament, Director, Museum of London, said:

“I’m delighted that the new museum has been awarded planning permission from the City of London Corporation’s Planning Committee. This is a momentous point, and I’d like to thank the whole team who made it possible.

“One thing I’m particularly proud of is the project’s sustainability ambitions, which I hope will be an exemplar for others in the field going into the future. We will lead by example by bringing these historic buildings back into use, preserving 70% of the fabric overall, and reducing operational carbon through connecting to Citigen and the use of smart technologies.”

Chairman of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee at the City of London Corporation, Shravan Joshi, said:

“The Museum of London’s plans offer an exciting opportunity to bring historic buildings in Smithfield sensitively back to life and ensure they are opened up to new audiences.

“The new museum will be an exceptional attraction that is open and accessible to all, especially due to its proximity to the Elizabeth line. This project will play an integral part in our Destination City vision by boosting the Square Mile’s leisure offer for visitors, workers and residents.

“As well as being an exceptional attraction in its own right, the new museum will bring substantial economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits to the area.”

In preparation for its move to West Smithfield, the museum will close at London Wall in December 2022, with two free weekend festivals planned on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November and Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December. The Museum of London Docklands remains open, and will become The London Museum Docklands from early 2023.

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