Search underway for architect to ‘reimagine’ Smithfield Market buildings

The City of London Corporation is seeking to appoint a heritage qualified architect to consider potential future uses for two major Smithfield Market buildings, in the event of the meat market moving to a major new site at Dagenham Dock.

The architect’s brief focuses on transforming the Grade II* listed East and West Market buildings and the separately listed Grade II Rotunda into a development that connects with the area and enables a wide range of cultural activities.

The project would be required to work within the constraints of the listing and appreciate the buildings’ importance as an historic landmark within Culture Mile.

The successful architectural practice will be responsible for producing a series of concept designs for fully accessible buildings that secures their legacy for future generations.

The announcement comes at a time of significant change for London and the Square Mile - the Museum of London will relocate to the General Market building and elements of the Poultry Market by 2024 and the Elizabeth Line is expected to open its east-to-west line, with stations flanking Smithfield, by spring 2021.

Culture Mile, of which the Museum of London and Smithfield are vital parts, continues to develop as a major cultural and creative destination, led by the City Corporation and in partnership with the Barbican, Museum of London, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and London Symphony Orchestra.

The City of London Corporation has also recently opened a public consultation on proposals to relocate its three wholesale markets - Smithfield, New Spitalfields, and Billingsgate - to one site at Dagenham Dock, which requires approval from Parliament following a Private Bill, which is anticipated for introduction in late 2020.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“Smithfield has contributed to London life for more than eight centuries, and for over 150 years these much-loved buildings have been home to Smithfield Market.

“We want to make sure that, if the meat market relocates, the buildings have a vibrant future within Culture Mile, ensuring that they flourish, and that their legacy is assured.

“We are looking forward to hearing architects’ proposals about how they would sensitively reimagine these buildings into a development of which residents, workers, and the City Corporation would feel rightly proud.”

The process to find an architectural practice starts this month. The appointment will not be made until the end of this calendar year so that feedback received from the public consultation, which closes on 6 August, can be reflected in the concept designs.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Smithfield, New Spitalfields and Billingsgate Markets, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

Plans for Culture Mile were announced in July 2017. Led by the City of London Corporation with the Barbican, Guildhall School, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, it is a multi-million-pound investment which is creating a new cultural and creative destination for London. The five core partners are leading the transformation of the area, improving their offer to audiences with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week.

Links between venues will be improved and major enhancements to the streets and wider public realm will enliven the area which, as Culture Mile expands and flourishes, will be regenerated. Creative Enterprise is a growing part of the economy and by harnessing the assets and capabilities of the area Culture Mile can bring about significant economic and social benefits at a local, regional, national, and international level.


Notes for Editors:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 /



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.