Museum of London
Building support for the move to Smithfield Market
Context and Objectives
The Museum of London is the largest urban museum in the world but has reached capacity at its London Wall site. They have an ambition to create a new museum next to the historic meat market in West Smithfield by 2022. The site has a chequered history with two failed attempts at redevelopment and a new tenant would likely come under considerable scrutiny. LCA was brought on board in December 2015 as strategic PR and public affairs advisers to build a strong coalition of support for the proposals.
The LCA Role
LCA worked with the Museum Board to refine the messaging, crafted a compelling narrative for the move and developed a communications strategy designed to ensure support from those who could make the move a reality, including the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and minimise any potential backlash from those who could hamper it, most notably market traders and heritage groups. In January 2016 the museum launched an International Design Competition for an architect to develop the concept for the new museum. To get Londoners behind the move, LCA pegged PR stories to various milestones, landing positive stories across London and national media. In January 2017, we supported the major announcement of a £180m funding package for the new museum from the Mayor and City of London Corporation.
The museum now has £180m of the proposed £250m for the move secured and there is widespread support for the new museum at West Smithfield, including from the Mayor, City of London Corporation, London Assembly, Historic England and the Victorian Society. We secured over 100 pieces of positive coverage in target media, including the front page of the FT and high profile comment pieces in The Times, Guardian, Observer and Evening Standard, triggering endorsements from key influencers. The groundwork has been laid to ensure a positive start to the planning application. We are now retained by the Museum through to planning submission, which is targeted for 2018.
"I pledged to make culture a core priority and I’m proud that this is the biggest ever cultural investment made by any Mayor of London to date. The world’s greatest city deserves the world’s greatest museum."
Mayor of London