The Museum of London has filed the formal planning application that will see it move from its London Wall site to the derelict market buildings at Smithfield.

The proposals — if approved — will see the museum take over two empty buildings, plus the huge basements under them, and convert them into a museum “campus” that’s substantially larger than the current museum.

The proposals seek to preserve much of the historic fabric 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 main aim will be to turn the huge Victorian building into the main museum arrivals space, with the double-height brick vaults beneath holding the displays — and the sight of the railway that runs through the middle of the venue.

The 1960s building next to it would become home to the changing exhibitions and office spaces, while preserving the huge concrete dome that dominates the site.

The submission of a planning application is the latest milestone for the project, which was formally announced in 2015.

The City of London has already committed to funding £197 million of the £337 million needed to deliver the scheme. A contribution of £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 £28 million so far, leaving a further £42 million to raise before the project is delivered.

Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said: “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.”

The application is now with the City of London to be considered by the Court of Common Council.

All being well, the new museum should open in 2024.

(c) Museum of London


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