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Funding of £73m has been released to allow redevelopment of new premises to begin, but project has been hit by rising costs and elements of the work will be delayed by two years.

A computer-generated image of the new Museum of London site
The Museum of London is hoping to open its new site in Smithfields in 2026

Plans to open a relocated Museum of London in 2026 have been hit by inflation and rising construction costs and elements of the work are now not expected to be completed until 2028, it has emerged.

While £73m of funding has just been released to the museum by the City of London Corporation to allow sub-contractors to be appointed to build the new museum, the museum has confirmed has confirmed that overall costs have risen.

A spokesperson said that the original budget of £337m set in 2019 has increased to £437m.


A statement issued by the museum said: “Factors such as inflation and the rising cost of construction all have an impact and we are continuing to closely monitor our budgets.

The Museum of London has appointed Sir Robert McAlpine to act as their construction management partner for the main works and had hoped for works to be completed in time for the museum to welcome its first visitors to preview events in 2025, before fully opening in 2026.

But one phase of the project, the transformation of Smithfield’s Poultry Market, is now not set to complete until 2028.

The statement released by the museum said: "Negotiations between the City of London Corporation and Smithfield Market Tenants’ Association to gain vacant possession of the Poultry Market building concluded later than expected and a consequence of this is that we will now phase the project opening.

"The General Market showcasing the museum’s permanent galleries will open as the London Museum in 2026 with the Poultry Market opening to the public in 2027/2028 at the earliest. 

"Costs for this second stage have been impacted by this delay, and this is something we are currently working through. Support for the project from the Greater London Authority, City of London and funders remains strong.

"The museum has raised a record amount for this project and we are moving forwards with confidence."

World-class museum

Since 2008, the museum has been jointly controlled and funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority. The City of London Corporation has said it intends the new museum to become one of London’s top 10 visitor attractions when it opens to the general public, attracting over two million visitors annually. It also aims to reach every schoolchild in London.

The new space in Smithfield will allow the museum to display more of its collection and host a wider range of displays, exhibitions, learning activities and events. 

“Cultural institutions like the Museum of London are essential to the character and vitality of our great city,” said Chris Hayward, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation.
“This significant investment in the relocation and regeneration of the Museum of London represents a major commitment by the City Corporation, not only to the museum but also to the historic market buildings that make up the site.”
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said the £73m funding from the City of London marked “the next step in our journey to build a truly world-class museum”.