The Museum of London has announced significant support totalling £15m towards its bold, ambitious plans to create a new museum for London in West Smithfield. A major grant of £10m from the Linbury Trust, the charitable foundation established by Lord and Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover, and initial support of £5m* National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) make up the latest high-profile support for creating a spectacular new home for the museum in the historic heart of the city.
West Smithfield General Market ©MuseumofLondon Photo by Matt Alexander
The Linbury Trust’s support of £10m is one of the largest gifts in the museum’s history; it follows the Trust’s grant of £1.2 million in the early years of this century, which allowed the museum to create the Linbury Gallery, the home of the museum’s principal temporary exhibitions. The Linbury Trust has a track record of support for a number of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, often towards transformative capital projects – examples include the National Gallery, the Royal Opera House, the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum. The scale of this grant is thus a significant vote of confidence in and endorsement for the project.
The new Museum of London, located in a set of outstanding market buildings in West Smithfield, will tell the story of London and Londoners – from the momentous to the everyday, through bigger exhibitions with a broader appeal and by showcasing more of the 7 million objects it holds in the London Collection.
One of the largest and most significant cultural projects currently happening anywhere in Europe, the new museum will be truly transformational, not just for the museum itself but for the surrounding area too. As a key part of Culture Mile – the area in the north-west of the City from Farringdon to Moorgate – and across the road from the brand new Elizabeth Line station in Farringdon, the museum will be ideally situated to attract over 2m visitors in its first year and deliver significant economic and social benefits for London and Londoners.
Today’s news follows an announcement last year of a £10m commitment from the Goldsmiths’ Company and its affiliated Charity – the largest ever from a Livery Company, and making them the first Founding Partner of the new museum, and the recent announcement that global law firm DLA Piper have become the new museum’s first Corporate Champion. Last year the museum announced that the Mayor of London and City of London Corporation would be formally supporting the project, together pledging £180m.
The Museum of London will begin a comprehensive programme of engagement with Londoners on initial concepts for the West Smithfield site later this year. Its aspirations are to achieve a successful planning consent in 2020 and to start construction in 2021.
Sharon Ament, Museum of London Director, said: “Today’s momentous announcement of £10m from the Linbury Trust and £5m of initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund shows an extraordinary commitment to this once-in-a-generation project for London. Set amongst the stunning array of historic market buildings, we will become a destination with a big presence in London life, in the middle of Culture Mile with Crossrail on our doorstep just two stops by train from Paris. To have the early backing of major organisations such as the Linbury Trust, the HLF and also the Goldsmiths’ Company means we’re well on our way to realising this vision. We’ll now continue to engage with individuals and organisations across London and beyond who wish to become a part of this transformational project, and look forward to making further funding announcements soon.”
Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover KG of the Linbury Trust, said:
“We are delighted to offer our support for this remarkable project, which brings together the Museum of London’s unique collection with much-loved buildings in a part of London that is steeped in history. We are convinced that not only Londoners, but people from around the world, will enjoy an outstanding cultural experience for generations to come.”
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:
“My colleagues and I can only echo the chorus of praise for the Linbury Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their outstanding generosity in supporting the new Museum of London. This huge investment in the museum demonstrates a genuine enthusiasm, which we undoubtedly share, to help tell London’s rich history in this landmark building.”
Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said:
“I welcome the generosity of the Linbury Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund in investing in what will be a truly wonderful new museum. London’s status as a global capital of culture generates tens of billions for the economy and brings millions of visitors to our city each year. This is a bold and ambitious vision from the Museum of London team and will create a thriving cultural destination at the heart of West Smithfield”