The Museum of London has secured planning permission to move from its London Wall home to the former Smithfields market buildings in Farringdon.

(c) Museum of London

The new museum will take over and refurbish three large empty buildings a short walk from Farringdon station, and create an effect more akin to a campus that has evolved and expanded over time as opposed to a single monolithic building.

The site for the new Museum of London covers the General Market, Poultry Market and a suite of buildings known as The Annexe, which includes the Fish Market, Red House and Engine House.

The Victorian market – originally for fruit and veg and late for meat – will become the main gallery space for the permanent and free temporary displays.

The modernist Poultry Market will become home to the paid exhibition galleries, and where the current museum can have one at a time, with two large rooms being inserted into the market building, they will be able to keep one exhibition open while the other is being prepared.

The ground floor will be mainly given over to changing displays, with the permanent exhibitions held in a series of double-height brick vaults that were once used by the railways to deliver fresh meat to the market.

Much of the historic fabric of the buildings will be preserved to create spaces both above and below ground, capable of hosting a broader range of displays, exhibitions, learning activity and events.

The new museum expects to open in 2024. For photos of what the museum is expected to look like, go here.

The City of London has put forward £197 million of the £337 million needed to deliver the scheme. A contribution of a capped £70m has also been made by the Mayor of London, which was announced in January 2017.

The Museum of London has continued in its fundraising efforts, securing a total of £27 million so far, leaving a further £43 million to raise before the project is delivered. It has already received donations of £10m from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and their affiliated Charity, £10m from the Linbury Trust and initial support for £5m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The current site of the Museum of London is currently being earmarked for a new concert hall.


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  1. Richard Goodwin says:

    Your last photo looks like it might answer a question I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while: I was curious every time I used the new SE London to St Pancras Thameslink service between City Thameslink and Farringdon. You can see underground passages dimly lit to the west – is this the old Smithfield sidings? Is there more information about what lies there?

  2. Peter Feltham says:

    Just get the builders in and stop fannying around.

  3. Chris Rogers says:

    The MoL director is giving an online talk today about it. Am very cautious. The site is incredibly awkward and ‘bitty’, and I’m still not convinced it will deliver.

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