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Victorian Society welcomes idea of Museum of London move to Smithfield General Market

The Victorian Society has welcomed, in principle, the Museum of London’s ambition to move into Smithfield General Market by 2021.

The Victorian Society has welcomed, in principle, the Museum of London’s ambition to move into Smithfield General Market by 2021. The complex’s future has remained uncertain after last year’s public inquiry halted redevelopment plans which would have seen much of the original market hall destroyed. Sensitive designs for the relocated museum could both secure the future of the historic London building and increase the Museum of London’s visitor numbers. The Society looks forward to seeing the proposals in due course.

Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘The Museum of London’s ambition to move into Smithfield General Market is potentially great news both for the future of this historic London building and for the museum itself - which is likely to see more footfall. Relocating the Museum into Smithfield Market would also appear to be the kind of ‘beneficial use’ envisaged by the Secretary of State during the public inquiry. However, our stance will ultimately depend on the detailed plans. We look forward to working with the Museum to help ensure that any alterations to the buildings preserve what makes them special.’

Museum of London Director, Sharon Ament, announced the Museum’s ambition to move to Smithfield by 2021 at the Museum’s annual fundraising dinner. However, she noted that there are many issues to be resolved before this could be achieved such as the price for the site.

Last year, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, reviewed the evidence given by the Victorian Society, SAVE Britain's Heritage and others at a two week public inquiry and concluded that the ‘Western Market buildings are an integral part of the group of market buildings that is a key characteristic of the Smithfield Conservation Area and that it is important that they are repaired and put into a beneficial use that is consistent with their conservation as heritage assets’. 

Friday 27 March, 2015

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