Although Smithfields is still a functioning meat market, about half of the Victorian buildings are derelict and this weekend is a chance to go inside.

The opportunity is because the Museum of London plans to move to the buildings, and is showing off their plans. And what could be more catnip to you dear reader than to go inside a derelict building to see plans for a museum about London?

Only one small part though – the display area for the graphics will be in a former butcher space.

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.

The exhibition will be inside the meat market on Charterhouse Street at the Farringdon Street end, opposite the Crossrail building site — next to where the Christmas Eve auctions take place.

The exhibition will be open:

  • Friday 5 July, 5am-9am (that’s correct, 5am will be for the workers at the market)
  • Sat 6 July, 10am-4pm
  • Sun 7 July, 10am – 4pm
  • Mon 8 July, 4-8pm

The cost though has jumped sharply following more studies of the historic buildings, which date back to the 19th Century, and the increased investment needed to bring them back into use.

It had been expected to cost around £250 million, with £110 million coming from the City of London. The cost has now risen to an estimated £332 million, and the City of London is has agreed to stump up an increased £192 million to cover the additional costs.

The Mayor of London is providing up to £70 million, and the museum itself has to find the remaining £70 million – of which it has £44 million left to find.

The aim is to submit a planning application by the end of 2019, with the opening expected in 2024, a bit later than originally hoped for.

The old museum site is now earmarked for a brand new music venue.

Some images released by the museum of London of the planned refurbishment of the Victorian meat market.


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  1. constantino attard says:

    oh this is something of very interest to me, can i ask is it free?

  2. David Thomas says:

    I went there 11.15 today, Sat 6 July. It’s a small room with wall display boards containing fewer photos/plans than shown above. Definitely no visits into the actual market buildings. Irritatingly a photographer was taking flash photos using a flash unit inches away from the side of my face. On the way out I saw a sign saying he was a ‘professional’ photographer and to ask if one did not wish to be in a photo. Surely courtesy should be that he asks if someone minds? Definitely not worth bothering!

    • non descriptive says:

      yeah i was looking forward to this, alas it was a major disappointment. A small room which could barely fit a dozen people. How i wish i was into urbexing.. or find the right person to contact to get access into there

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