Plans submitted for new cultural destination in West Smithfield

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West Smithfield, cultural destination,
© Michel wal

A planning application has been submitted by the Museum of London to transform market buildings in West Smithfield into a new world-class cultural destination

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

Cultural destination proposals

The proposals seek to preserve the historic features 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 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.

Designed by 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.

Transform the West Smithfield site

Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, commented: “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, added: “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.”

One of the biggest cultural destinations in Europe

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.

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