Plans approved to create new Museum for London and regenerate Smithfield

The City of London Corporation’s Planning Applications Sub-Committee today gave the green light for updated plans from the Museum of London to create a new, world-class cultural destination within a series of historic buildings in West Smithfield.

The approved plans mean a secure, sustainable future for the historic market buildings that make up the site, most of which date back to the Victorian Era.

Much of the historic fabric of the buildings will be preserved to create cavernous and atmospheric spaces both above and below ground. These spaces will allow the museum to showcase more of its collection and will be capable of hosting a broader range of displays, exhibitions, learning activity and events.

The planning application from the 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. A Listed Building Consent Application for the Grade II-listed Poultry Market has also been secured. 

The plans approved today include minor alterations to the design of the scheme, which was originally granted planning consent in June 2020.

The new Museum of London – to be rebranded The London Museum – will play a key role in the City of London Corporation’s Destination City initiative, which is transforming the Square Mile’s leisure offer to create a leading destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

The decision follows an announcement last week that the City Corporation plans to deposit a Private Bill in Parliament to relocate Billingsgate and Smithfield wholesale markets.

Chairman of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee at the City of London Corporation, Shravan Joshi, said:

“The Museum of London’s plans offer an exciting opportunity to bring historic buildings in Smithfield sensitively back to life and ensure they are opened up to new audiences.

“The new museum will be an exceptional attraction that is open and accessible to all, especially due to its proximity to the Elizabeth line. This project will play an integral part in our Destination City vision by boosting the Square Mile’s leisure offer for visitors, workers and residents.

“As well as being an exceptional attraction in its own right, the new museum will bring substantial economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits to the area.”

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays, and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place. The museum is open Monday - Sunday 10am – 5pm and is free to all. You can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added regularly – www.museumoflondon.org.uk

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk