In case you haven’t heard, the Museum of London is relocating. The institution has really been making the most of the big move: it commissioned a mural, organised a stonking five-month-long leaving do, and will put on two free back-to-back festivals this weekend and next.
The museum is moving to the historic site of Smithfield Market in Farringdon. The world-famous meat market, which has been operating for more than 800 years, will be relocated to Dagenham. The Museum of London’s current location on the Barbican Estate is set to be bulldozed and turned into yet another glassy office block, something that 88 percent of Barbican residents are against.
The City of London finally approved the plans for the new ‘London Museum’ yesterday. The museum aims to preserve a lot of Smithfield’s grade II-listed Victorian market buildings, while creating new spaces for displays, exhibitions and events. The museum site will include the current General Market, Poultry Market, Annexe, Fish Market, Red House and the Engine House.
However, there are mixed feelings about the relocation of the historic market that’s been part of London’s landscape since at least the twelfth century. Traders have expressed fears about losing business after being sent to the Essex outskirts of east London. Market vendors are also worried that they might find themselves homeless as they wait for the new market at Dagenham Dock to be completed, while the move will cause 32 trading units to be lost in the Poultry Market. The new site will sit alongside the relocated Billingsgate Fish Market, which is leaving its existing site in Docklands.
The Museum of London at the Barbican will close on December 4 and reopen as The London Museum in 2026.