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A first butcher’s at Smithfield plans

Meat traders at famous site still in dark over whether they will be moved out to Dagenham

17 January, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

How the new ‘reimagined’ Grade II-listed Smithfield could look

PLANS to convert the historic Smithfield meat market into a “cultural, commercial, and creative space” have been unveiled while butchers remain in the dark as to whether their business will be moved.

The City of London Corporation is considering moving the wholesale meat sellers, who have occupied the space for more than 150 years, out of the Farringdon site to Dagenham.

Architects Studio Egret West have been tasked with “reimagining” the Grade II-listed building to allow for pop-up stalls and temporary shops while the renovation takes place.

When the Tribune went to speak to workers at the market, several said they were still clueless as to what would be happening to them in the future.

One employee, who has been working at the market for 53 years but only gave his name as Alan, said: “I think this place will end up like Covent Garden, it is the way London is becoming. If you look around here there are no market cafés, it’s all Subways and £4 for a cup of coffee.”

An architect’s vision for interior – ‘a place for exposition and entertainment’

The 73-year-old added: “The market isn’t what it used to be either. It’s more like Tesco’s now and we have people wandering through and looking at us like we’re animals in a zoo.”

Another butcher said: “We don’t know anything about what’s happening. I just come in here and do my job and go home.”

We contacted the Smithfield Tenants Association but a spokeswoman said she had no comment to provide.

A new tube station is set to open directly outside the entrance to the market.

David West, founding director at Studio Egret West, said: “We are excited to explore the evolution of Smithfield Market, working closely with the City of London Corporation, key stakeholders and the wider community.

How the new museum – with green roof – will look near the meat market

“Thanks to connectivities that did not exist previously, Smithfield is set to attract a new influx of people and, should the meat market move, Smithfield Market could be transformed in a highly flexible and imaginative way, creating a place for meeting and making, growing and exchanging, exposition and entertainment.”

A separate planning application has been submitted by the Museum of London to demolish and rebuild part of the west end of Smithfield as part of a £337million new site.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City, said: “This is a significant step forward in our journey to deliver on our wider ambition to create a vibrant and new world-class Culture Mile at the heart of the historic Square Mile. Alongside the new Museum of London, these plans will create exciting, new creative uses and public spaces, attracting workers, residents and new visitors to the area alike.”

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