The Museum of London has announced plans to move from its current London Wall site to a new venue, just down the road — in Smithfield.

In a speech last night, Museum of London Director Sharon Ament said that the current location no longer supports the size of the museum’s collection, nor its research work. For the past few months, a review has taken place of what options exist, and the decision has been taken to look for a new venue.

Fortunately for them, there is a site nearby that is both historic, and derelict — Smithfield General Market.

The market has been subject to attempts to redevelop it into a Spitalfields type offices and market complex, but those plans have been bedeviled by controversy and opposition, and were recently rejected by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles.

That leaves the site looking for a new occupant, and along comes the Museum of London.


The plans are still under development, but Sharon Ament said last night that they still need to negotiate a suitable price for the site, as well as other conditions.

One of the undeniable risks is that with a very vocal lobby group involved in the Smithfield General Market, the museum faces the risk that its plans will have to be too aggressively altered to placate the protesters in order to be viable for the museum.

If everyone can agree though, then a new museum could open as soon as 2021.



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  1. Patrick says:

    Brilliant solution for both. Smithfield has been a disgrace for too long

  2. Francesca Fenn says:

    Brilliant, fantastic and exciting. And the Smithfield preservation people are unlikely to get a better or more appropriate offer. Here’s hoping it works out.

  3. Kevin says:

    i agree, protestors either need to buy it themselves or admit that it’s going to a good use or it’ll mysteriously burn down one day and then it’s lost forever.

  4. Andrew says:

    That is an excellent idea, as long as the transformation is sensitive. It is not going to be a market again, and any other “solution” will result in a horrible eviceration like Spitalfields, with chunks of residential and/or offices.

  5. Simon Watson says:

    This sudden desire to move has nothing to do with the desire to build a new concert hall in the city?

  6. LadyBracknell says:

    I would welcome a move to Smithfields as access to the present Museum of London site is a little awkward.

    My hated ex-employer has an office that overlooks Smithfields on one side and I always hoped that something would happen with the market before the beautiful buildings fall completely into ruins.

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