Barbican hub to learn from Exhibition Road

Patrick Steel, 15.04.2014
New cultural quarter to include Museum of London and Barbican Centre
The Greater London Authority (GLA) and the City of London Corporation are planning a cultural hub in Barbican, London, to include the Museum of London and the Barbican Centre, using Exhibition Road and the Southbank as templates.

The plans were outlined in the GLA’s strategy document Cultural Metropolis, published last month, which stated: “The Museum of London will also be a central element of the new cultural hub that the City of London Corporation is developing around the Barbican complex.”

Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, said: “There is a recognition that culture is already happening around the Barbican – the museum, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Barbican Centre – and the cultural hub concept recognises this critical mass.

“We are at a really early stage, but we want to make the area more accessible and more pedestrian-friendly. We are talking about how we all join up and are looking at Exhibition Road and the Southbank to learn lessons.”

A GLA spokesman said: “There are plans to develop a cultural hub in the City of London, aimed at raising the profile of the area as a destination for people of all ages, including families and young people, in the evening and at weekends.

“The deputy mayor, Edward Lister, sits on the cultural hub advisory board, which is led by the Museum of London.

“This is considering issues such as improved signposting, access and infrastructure, as well as ideas to increase the area's vibrancy outside working hours."

Museums Journal understands that at this stage there is no timeline for the plans but that joint programming across the Barbican’s cultural venues is being talked about for the anniversaries of the Great Fire of London and Shakespeare’s death in 2016.