Culture Mile: Tourists Go Home – Refugees Welcome!

The City of London is once again attempting to hype some ridiculous Culture Mile branding in its  north-west corner, as is obvious from a press release it issued earlier this week tied to item 9 at a meeting of its Planning and Transportation Committee on 30th October 2018 10.00:

Smithfield and Barbican ‘Culture Mile’ plans include the relocation of the Museum of London to West Smithfield, and the proposed Centre for Music alongside the existing Barbican Centre. Beech Street will be transformed into a cleaner and more welcoming food and retail environment.

City of London Corporation maps out the Square Mile’s future development by Anonymous on City of London website, press section.

This PR squib promotes the The City Plan 2036 which in draft form can already be downloaded from the Corporation’s website but that doesn’t open for pseudo-consultation until 12 November 2018. The public are invited to provide feedback until the end of February 2019, residents views will then be ignored and what’s already been decided will be pushed ahead by a local authority that revells in its sham democracy. The City of London Lie Machine has also placed a puff piece on the Culture Mile in a local free sheet:

The strategy to transform the area from Farringdon to Moorgate into an arts and culture hub for the Square Mile has been given the go ahead.

Planned improvements include the addition of temporary art installations, increased green spaces, new street furniture and creative lighting projects.

Development is expected to be continuous over the next two to three years.

In the longer term, the development of Culture Mile will also feature essential works on Beech Street, a new public space around the Museum of London at West Smithfield, as well as the pursuit of a proposed Centre of Music.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “These plans are an essential step towards realising the physical transformation of Culture Mile.

“The area is currently dominated by vehicles and perceived by many to be hard to reach and difficult to navigate. These proposals set out an ambitious and exciting vision for the area which will create an unrivalled visitor experience, a welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy and a place where culture and learning are both created and consumed.”

For the past 18 months, the City of London Corporation has developed a ‘Look and Feel’ strategy for Culture Mile with Fluid, a London-based design and creative agency.

The firm recently finalised a framework for transforming the area by creating an “unrivalled visitor experience”.

The Culture Mile changes are intended to show off the City’s vast history, cultural riches, wealth of activity and varied character.

New plans for the City’s Culture Mile Approved by Andrew Zuccala, City Matters, 29 October 2018.

Rather than exposing the City of London as the UK’s last rotten borough and exploring the area’s often disreputable history – the racist tropes cooked up by Protestant bigots in Grub Street, the violence and extra-legal activity around the Shrieval Election of 1682, or the notorious bawdy houses of Cripplegate etc. etc. – the Culture Mile has to date consisted of the super-bland artwashing. It will no doubt continue on the same track.

Instead of the proposed Centre of Music being built on the current Museum of London site, we’d rather see housing for refugees. Likewise there is already a huge daily footfall of visitors in the Culture Mile area and seeking to increase this will make life worse for its residents. Tourists aren’t wanted and nor are retail outlets selling overpriced goods to sightseers either. Rather than coffee, souvenir and trinket shops, what the area actually needs are market stalls selling low priced fruit and vegetables, household items and clothes. Most of the stalls that used to sell these things in nearby Whitecross Street have disappeared over the past twenty years and were replaced vendors selling hot food to tourists and office workers.

Pippa Henslowe.



City of London Corporation maps out the Square Mile’s future development (30 October 2018 at Internet Archive:

The City of London Local Plan draft policies may be found here:

New plans for the City’s Culture Mile Approved by Andrew Zuccala:


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