If you’ve ever wandered around the deserted financial district of Moorgate on a Sunday, you’ll understand why it’s not exactly thought of as a bustling creative hub. The surrounding area is home to some of our biggest cultural institutions (you can’t exactly miss the big, bad brutalist Barbican), but instead we always associate it with suits, money and stressed out financiers eating a hurried lunch on cold concrete steps.
That might be about to change. Today, plans to rebrand the area as the Culture Mile – (that would be the mile stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate) – over the next 10 to 15 years were announced. The idea is that The City of London Corporation will join forces with the Barbican, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Museum of London to produce visual art installations and a programme of cultural events that will draw visitors to the area seven days a week.
The Culture Mile will be bolstered by two big developments, including plans to launch a new Museum of London building in Farringdon, and the London Symphony Orchestra’s proposed Centre for Music. Sharon Ament, Director at the Museum of London explained that, though it has been in the works prior to 2014, the Brexit vote has helped spur it on. ‘Brexit added a sense of energy to show London will still be at the centre of culture… we need a new infrastructure if that is going to go on flourishing’. But a more obvious factor is the scheduled opening of Crossrail stations at Farringdon and Moorgate in 2018, which will put more than 1.5 million visitors within a 45-minute journey of the area.
There’s also an initiative to completely redevelop Beech Street (which Time Out once, apparently, dubbed ‘the ugliest street in London’, soz about that guys) and improve signage to stop everyone getting trapped behind Moorgate building works. It all sounds pretty long-term, but there are some embryonic Culture Mile activities afoot. So far there’s a pop-up garden at Moor Lane, a visual art installation by Morag Myerscough and Folk in Box, a one-to-one music experienced planned for August. Find out more at the Culture Mile website.
The Square Mile isn’t going to morph into the South Bank anytime soon, but if it means the area gets more soul, less suit, we’re all for it.
Can’t wait for this Culture Mile business? Try our Barbican area guide instead.
Image by Flickr/XX Photography