The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, have announced plans for a major destination for culture and creativity in the Square Mile. They claim the initiative will add significantly to the area’s meetings and events and business tourism offering.
Unveiled as ‘Culture Mile’, the initiative aims to create a vibrant cultural area in the north-west corner of the City over the next 10 to 15 years.
Stretching just under a mile from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile aims to put creative exchange, cultural collaboration and learning at its core in an area boasting 2,000 years of history.
Although some partnerships already operate across these institutions, Culture Mile aims to ramp up the effort with “imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week”.
Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, which open in December 2018, will make the area more accessible and mean that around 1.5m additional visitors a year will be within a 45-minute journey of the area when the Elizabeth Line becomes fully operational in December 2019 and the North-South Thameslink line is upgraded.
Farringdon will be the only place where London Underground, Thameslink and Crossrail all interlink and is set to become one of the busiest stations in the UK, making the area more connected than ever.
There are three major construction projects associated with Culture Mile:
- The new Museum of London at West Smithfield, which is already developing its designs
- The proposed Centre for Music, for which the preferred site is currently occupied by the Museum of London
- The transformation of Beech Street, which will become a crucial axis for Culture Mile.
To signal the first steps in the animation and transformation of the area, Culture Mile Pop Ups is unveiled, 31 July, featuring a range of temporary art installations, gardens and signage.
Later this year there will be a new public realm strategy designed by Fluid, setting out how to create a series of connected places with culture at its heart. This strategy forms part of a City-wide programme of public realm improvements across the Square Mile including improving air quality through a new Low Emission Neighbourhood around the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate area.
Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation said: “We are redefining the City of London, so that the Square Mile becomes known and admired as much for being a world-class cultural destination, as for its position as a leading global financial centre… There is no doubt that Culture Mile will transform the area and in the face of Brexit send a signal to the world that London is – and will always be – a welcoming, open, and resolutely internationalist city.”
Sharon Ament, director, Museum of London; Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Barbican Centre MD; Kathryn McDowell, London Symphony Orchestra MD, and Lynne Williams, Principal Guildhall School released a statement, saying: “This is a once in generation opportunity to regenerate the north-west of the City from Farringdon to Moorgate and to work together to transform Culture Mile into a world-leading cultural and creative destination.
“With the arrival of Crossrail, vastly increased numbers of people will have access to the area; Culture Mile is at the start of its journey and the partners will collaborate more closely, improve the environment, provide better access, enliven the area with outdoor programming, be more visitor friendly and celebrate learning at its core. We will develop a wider network of organisations who share a commitment to help transform the area over the next decade and to create a vibrant creative community.”