With the City of London considering moving its historic meat market out of Smithfield, thoughts are turning to what could done with the empty buildings.
With the Museum of London moving to the already empty part of the site in 2024, the intention is to use them as an “anchor tenant” for the whole area to become a much larger cultural hub.
With it’s location next to Farringdon station, which will become one of the best connected parts of London, the area is seen as ideal to bring new people into the city, particularly in the evenings and weekends.
Although the plan to move the meat market is not finalised yet, the City has awarded design contracts to Studio Egret West and Hawkins\Brown for the market buildings and the wider area respectively.
The plans for the potentially former meat markets will see the buildings opened up along the outside, where currently the design of the meat market is inward looking — and then the spaces within cleared out to create large exhibition spaces.
The current underground roundabout car park space could become a new food hall.
The new public realm is expected to replace some of the existing road network with new footpaths and landscaping, essentially pedestrianising a lot of the space around Smithfield.
Although the core physical structures are not changing much under the plans, the overal impact is going to be considerable, turning an area that has for some 800 years been devoted to the meat industries, into one celebrating the creative industries.
At least it’s not just more offices.